2009 Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award

Winner: “Petrarch"
by Richard Wakefield
Final Judge: David Middleton


He saw a girl illuminated there
in April’s burgeoning cathedral light,
and held the vision as an anchorite
devotes himself to one repeated prayer.
He never wavered, never let despair
or doubt obscure that single moment’s sight
of something out of reach, enshrined in white
and real, yet insubstantial as the air.
We pride ourselves on being far more wise —
the woman, after all, was flesh and bone
and no less fallen, no less stained than he —
and yet sometimes regret our jaundiced eyes
that taint the world and make us more alone
than one who was naïve enough to see.

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