The George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition
2014 Crabbe Memorial Competition – First Prize
Adjudicator: Gregory Warren Wilson
After the kerfuffle of reaching
the viewing chamber, making sure
the children with additional needs
don’t get lost or left behind
the swans fly towards us,
strung out like a wavering horizon,
glide down and carve Vs of curved
spray as they water ski to a stop.
The children laugh and cry, call
across to each other, answer back.
Soon as grain is thrown
from a barrow the swans converge
snatch and swallow what they can,
near enough for us to see
each adult bird has a wedge
of yellow on its bill.
There’s bugling and honking
on the lagoon. Most are Whoopers
though the warden in his spiel
informs us Bewick swans
are seen better from East Hide.
It’s a rumpus when they take off:
smack smack against water
as they struggle to get airborne.
Archie, my grandson, can’t stand
without splints and hand rails
but flapping his arms like wings
he gives me the lift I need just now.
Pools of sunlight and cloud shadow
sweep across The Ouse Washes.
When I hold him at the window
he laughs at where he is in the sky.
Copyright © 2014 David Healey