The George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition
2006 Crabbe Memorial Competition – First Prize
Adjudicators : Neil Powell, Andrea Holland
I mean this literally: the sky was green.
Green like the moss creeping its way through our lawn
like the algae in the shallow pond by the back door.
Not the green of freshly mown grass,
but something darker and more substantial than that.
When we arrived at the ranch,
The dogs were deranged and howling,
running between the pellets of rain water
dancing out of harms way
and shaking vigorously when they failed.
Overhead, the porch light swung
from side to side, throwing our shadows
this way and that.
We howled and danced our way to the veranda,
soaked and raining like human clouds.
Someone made a fire while our socks clung to radiators
and we watched the storm through the open door:
leaves tossed about between bobbing trees;
garden furniture bounced against the workshop;
power lines swayed like drunks.
The rain turned to hail.
A sudden brightening layered the sky –
from a churning sea to the depths of her eyes.
And in that instant, the storm tossed a hailstone
the size of a man’s fist across the veranda
and into the house.
It bounced to a stop beside the fire
and waited for the lazy warmth of the coals
to worry the edges of its coat of ice.
But one of us scooped it up
and laughed and hurled it outside.
That night the bolted door
was almost shaken off its hinges,
but it stood its ground and kept us in
as the stones drummed it like fingers.
And we danced in the dining room,
holding our partners close,
our footsteps drowning out
the punchy persistence of the hail.
Her cowboy boots slithered
over the polished floor,
a peel of new lizard skin
as the storm starved and thinned.
Copyright © Andrew Frolish