The George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition
2009 Crabbe Memorial Competition – Third Prize
Adjudicator: Clive Scott
Back flip-flops absorbing the sun:
Not discarded but placed
On a dusty bulge in the earth,
Nearby, a red bag sits,
Weather-beaten and steadily cracking
Under the vast folds of African sky.
Here: a ragged doll, slumped
Against a curve of stone,
Damaged by rain, dried by sun
Too often to count the changes
In the weather.
A white shirt, streaked with blood,
Becoming the colour of dirt,
Hangs from a skeleton of trees
And flaps while we talk of life moving on.
In the distance, the schoolhouse
Rattles the dry air with the cries
Of children the tribal bullets missed;
Children who left their hearts
On the mounds of earth
Where others left their bones.
We pump water from the well
But bring up muck before the water
Runs clear enough to drink.
Copyright © Andrew Frolish 2009