The Empty Chair

Over the weekend I received my copy of Volume II of Measure: An Annual Review of Formal Poetry. If you like poetry, particularly poetry in traditional forms, I heartily recommend a subscription. It is easily my favorite literary periodical.

I’ve only had time to read a few of this year’s poems so far, but I did turn quickly to the poem that won the 2006 Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award. Congratulations to Robert W. Crawford for his sonnet, “The Empty Chair.”

The Empty Chair
Robert W. Crawford

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.


One Response to “The Empty Chair”

  1. Timothy Peach Says:

    Hey, that’s MY chair!!!

    Everybody, stay out of my chair. In fact, don’t even look at it.

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