Poet of the Month – Elaine Wilburt

National Poetry Month April 22, 2020

Elaine Wilburt

 Nôtre Dame de Paris: Entr’acte
As crimson rays
melting to violet
from bell tower
to buttresses,
a solo sax
sobs laden
with this dusk.
a stone bridge,
creamy and warm,
echoes redouble
like a round,
layer on layer,
harmonizing grief.
Lapping softly,
keeping time,
the waiting Seine
spirits them away.
First published in The Avenue

1.     What inspired you to write this poem?

I studied in Paris when was in college, and this captures a moment one evening that spring as my friends and I were out walking near the cathedral. Twilight comes late in Paris as the days lengthen, and I remember hearing the busker playing, the notes echoing like the light.

2.     What do you like about this poem?

It  evokes a memory of twilight. A fleeting moment. I arrived in Paris at night, and the first recognizable monument I saw was Notre Dame with its wash of illumination against the night sky. It was magical. Later, after living in the city a while, I found I used the cathedral as a landmark to help me navigate. This poem reminds me not to lose the wonder of small, daily moments.

3.     What would you change about this poem?

I would perhaps try to show how the experience made me feel outside of time. I wanted to hold that moment. Emphasize twilight more?

4.     Where, when, and how often do you write?

I’d like to say that I was disciplined and write daily. I do try to write a haiku or senryu daily, but I often do not. I sometimes look for those poems while walking the dog and hurry to jot them down at home. Other lyric poems may come from news stories, trips to the Dollar Store as happened recently, my children, anything. Sometimes from trying a new form. I prefer to write with pen and paper, not at the computer although I revise there, mostly while in the living room.

5.     What poetry books are you reading right now?

I read here and there from online journals. I am looking forward to reading Nouns and Verbs by Campbell McGrath.

Picture of Elaine Wilburt