Dancing at Midnight

by E. Russell Smith
The Write Idea
Third Place, April 2017
Judged by R.T. Castleberry


It gets no darker than this.
We will celebrate if you wish,
the essential sunrise, not to
regret the failings of a day
now past and locked away.
Flowers in bud at evening

will open at dawn, a daybreak
of pigment and incense.
Even now the scent of
night-blooming tobacco
possesses God’s acre, narcotic
relief from idle despair.

Step to the measure of old stars
dropping into the night, the lyric
of night birds sure of their title.
Read the rhythm of waves on rocks
and match your steps and fancies
to their elemental rehearsal.


A lovely, atmospheric evocation of night's promises, with some gorgeous lines: the essential sunrise; not to/regret the failings of a day...; the lyric/of night birds sure of their title. --R.T. Castleberry

  • December 2020 Winners

    • First Place

      Avaricious
      by Judy Kaber
      The Waters

      Second Place

      To James Bulger, aged 2, murdered February 1993
      by two boys aged 10 in Liverpool, England
      by Christopher T. George
      Babilu

      Third Place

      Dr. Pachango’s Mango
      by Jim Fowler
      Babliu

  • November 2020 Winners

    • First Place

      Notorious RBG
      by Laurie Byro
      Babilu

      Second Place

      To My Old Age
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Waters

      Third Place

      Beggar’s Lice
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block