2002 Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award

Winner: “Embarking” by Marion Shore
Final Judge: Wyatt Prunty

Embarking

Passa la nave mia colma d’oblio . . .
-- Petrarch

Despite the dreams and yearnings that lie drowned,
The flotsam of desire, the fearful straits,
The capsized hope, the passion gone aground,
The tides too treacherous to navigate,
You lift your gaze each time love reappears
Like an ocean liner gliding through the dark.
Without a thought you rush down to the pier
And climb aboard and once again embark,
And stand upon the deck ablaze with light,
And raise your glass beneath the glittering stars,
And watch the harbor slowly fade from sight,
Not caring where you’re going, or how far --
Knowing the odds are slim that you’ll survive,
Yet never having felt quite so alive.

 

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