The George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition
2009 Crabbe Memorial Competition – Second Prize
Adjudicator: Clive Scott

A blurred recall of summer, naïve, rough-edged,
Almost a woodblock print from Chaucer’s world:
The hidden boy sits high in a greengage tree,
An ancient Suffolk countryman walks by.

Life’s paintbrush wants to tint this Book of Hours,
To animate the imp among the peeping leaves,
Where droning wasps seek silence at the plummy ooze
Above old Hubbard’s wheezing, timeless gait.

He’s walked this path for several hundred years,
His ancient gaberdine is rank with slops
From buckets for the sow behind the blackthorn hedge.
Likewise the changeless child forever grips

The branch, wide-eyed and queasy at the reek
Of swill that mingles with the heavy bloom of fruit.
The mind must strive to make that past agree with now,
But muscle knows the reach of every greengage bough.

Copyright © Keith Rose 2009

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