Stained Glass – Rosemary Merry

The George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition
2003 Crabbe Memorial Competition – First Prize
Adjudicator: Alison Chisholm

The young pigeon lay spread-eagled,
lifeless, on the terrace.
All that magnificence of coloured plumage,
instinct and energy, gone;
just refuse now,
to be disposed of
before the cat discovers the corpse.

But, stamped on the window,
a memorial –
in the outspread wings;
between them, neatly tucked,
slightly to one side,
a gently rounded head,
sharp outline of beak.

Even the slanted hollows
of the eyes
seem to look at me
with a mournful expression.

Body feathers and legs are etched
in sharp detail, worthy of Laurence Whistler
and, beneath the wings,
surrounding the lower half,
like an intricate crotchet mat,
or an upside-down halo,
the chequered semi-circle
of the full-fanned tail.

Marvelling at all the fine markings,
the impact of sheer vitality,
a sudden upsurge of sorrow
conjures the Turin shroud.

For two full weeks
not blurred or dimmed by rain,
the image has stayed
printed on the glass;
to wash it off
would seem like sacrilege.

Copyright © Rosemary Merry 2003

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