Ekphrastic Challenge, January 2016: Artist’s Choice
Painting: “Chronicle” by Ruth Bavetta. “It Won’t Make the News” was written by Rosemerry Trommer for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, January 2016, and selected by Bavetta as the Artist’s Choice winner.
IT WON’T MAKE THE NEWS
What we really need is to gather
in the street and talk to each other.
Any street. Lined with shrubs
or tenements. Paved or dirt
or cobblestone. With orange cones
or with wooden barriers
to set off the block so we can talk,
can talk and listen and watch the day go by.
Some will join us. They will wonder
why we’ve gathered. They’ll
pull out their binoculars
as if there’s something more to see.
There’s always something more to see,
like the way the light comes through the hedge
and makes it more gold than green.
Hey, did you hear that nightingale?
When’s the last time you heard one?
All my life I’ve been too busy. Rushing
from one here to the next. But look
what happens when we gather
in the street and gawk in whatever
direction. We start to become a we—
you, me, the man in the yellow plaid shirt,
the cop, the woman in white tennis shoes.
It does not matter how we vote or
where we’ve been or how much we make
or if we pray, here we are in the same place
on the same day. Not because someone died,
not because someone’s done something wrong.
There is no one to cheer for but us.
We’ll go back to our homes soon enough,
but for now, here we are
doing the most important work,
gathering in the street to notice together
the scent of fall, the warmth of mid-afternoon sun,
the way all our shadows fall the same direction.
—Ekphrastic Challenge, January 2016
Artist’s Choice Winner
Comment from the artist, Ruth Bavetta: “I liked that the poet didn’t go for the obvious interpretation. And the last line really got to me—a little togetherness means a lot.” (website)
For more information on Rosemerry Trommer, visit her website.