The George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition
1996 Crabbe Memorial Competition – Second Prize
Adjudicators: Susan Wicks and William Scammell
Here cometh the scarecrows.
They drift in from lonely farmsteads
tired of drunken farmers
and the relentlessness of the weather
the high spirits of country children
exhausted by crows
they gather on the lawns of the mansion
a quiet assembly of the meek and forsaken.
Some have managed bicycles
others are foot weary
exasperated by wing feathers
Many lie on the grass like trench soldiers
pleased at the discovery.
Others affect a dandyish air with yellow cloth
sharpening their hedge-torn coats.
They do not ask for charity.
The townsfolk bring their children
so they can see the difference.
The children ask “Why don’t they speak?”
The parents say “Because they are dumb.”
The children think “What difference?!”
This years conkers are many.
The wind is a little fresher
the Indian summer is fading,
leaves are more down than up.
The scarecrows have decided to go
leaving no litter, no forwarding address.
Copyright © Julian Stannard 1996