Special Award for Best Poetry

John Marks' Personal "hors de concours" award for best entry that broke the rules.

Special Award for Best Poetry Bob Bray

Dear Mr. Marks,

Here are my five "aural madeleines" for the contest:

1) Gloomy Sunday (sung by Billie Holliday).

2) Dvorak: "New World" Symphony (by I think the Columbia Symphony Orchestra).

3) Give a Little Bit by Supertramp.

4) Wagner: "Wotan's Farewell" from Die Walküre.

5) Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.

Now I know what you said about annotations! But please take a look at the five associated poems in the attachment. They were inspired by your August column and are dedicated to my daughter Madeleine. I will present them to her next year, when she turns 30.

Thanks for the good writing and the wonderfully inventive contests!

All best,

Bob Bray

[And here are the new poems that Mr. Bray's mystic-chord picks inspired—JM]

five madeleine moments —for my daughter on her 30th birthday


sunday after no church mother bustles and smokes in the kitchen

a room away he's fooling with an old phonograph platter that goes round 1.2 time per second

its needle has scoured the grooves of many broken records

mother calls out about something

her son your father picks out one and fits it on the spindle lets the tone arm down

beneath the swish scratch swish a brittle voice laments my hours are slumberless

then from far away lunch is ready

gloomy sunday


a new phonograph that plays lps almost a cube on four short legs orthophonic they called it at the store threw in a couple of albums to take the edge off the installment plan

so a stack of two on the changer one slaps down and the needle descends

mother and son anticipate their new world symphony


by no means a great pop tune but good enough to send us soon

toward the making of you that painful pushing through

all lovers have one that's our song all parents need one to be strong

give a little bit (supertramp)


you are leaving or am I banishing you

whichever or both it's profounder than sad

nostalgia will always be melancholy

yet go now sleep apart from me I know you'll awaken free

I know it dream and you shall see

wotan's farewell


real but not yet happened recalled in advance

a madeleine half-baked already prospective in its charm

a third of the way through the score come upon like a still spring pool

in a modal wood all round it the pristine viola solo lifts the air

tallis fantasia

JM comments: Just by chance I found a brilliant and evocative mashup that uses "Wotan's Farewell" as the soundtrack for a montage of still photographs of James Dean. You really should see it: www.youtube.com/user/cremonaguy#p/a/f/0/4NoOAJyjm54.