2006 Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award

Winner: “The Empty Chair"
by Robert W. Crawford
Final Judge: Andrew Hudgins

The Empty Chair

Out on the rocky point there stands a white
And isolated Adirondack chair.
The tourists take a snapshot of the sight —
But only if nobody’s sitting there.

I guess they know, without  fine arts degrees,
The standard first-term lesson, “less is more.”
It’s all about the possibilities
And the importance of the metaphor.

The focus isn’t on the lovely ring
Of blue in which the empty chair is framed —
Where ocean meets the sky — it’s on the thing
That in an artful picture can’t be named:

They save a central place for what might be —
A certain absence, looking out to sea.

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