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

  • February 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Nebraska, Summer
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      Second Place

      Goldback Fern
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

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  • January 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      You Arrive Like Fall, Suddenly
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Writer's Block

      Second Place

      Waiting for the Second Coming
      by Jim Doss
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Homeless
      by J.J. Williamson
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      Honorable Mention

      When I Go Out and Then Come Back
      by Guy Kettelhack
      Wild Poetry Forum