Night Music

by E. Russell Smith
The Write Idea
Third Place, July 2012
Judged by Troy Jollimore


Debussy at moonrise
with unoaked Chardonnay
and Camembert; baroque
with pinot noir and barbecue;

the descanted serenade
of our resident loon,
sharing the lake with us
and with his nesting mate;

a short song in the dark
before a late May dawn
from a red-eyed vireo,
offered again and again;

and when I return,
your fingers’ urgent strum
across my lively skin,
Venus transiting the sun.


This is a simple, pleasing poem with lovely music and delicious word choices. This poet loves words and fills the poem with strong, interesting nouns (including proper names): Debussy, Chardonnay, Camambert, serenade, pinot noir, vireo. I like that while there is no regular rhyme scheme, some of the final words repeat sounds: strum/skin/sun in the final stanza, or—my favorite—baroque and barbecue in the first. All in all this is a hushed and musical poem by a writer with a very good ear. --Troy Jollimore

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