The George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition
2006 Crabbe Memorial Competition – Second Prize
Adjudicators: Neil Powell, Andrea Holland

Shore walking, heron-hunched, so long now;
the youngest reckoned, at first, it was about

filling my coat with grasps of sea grit, weed
and pebble; until they found a sailor’s pearl,

a fairy shield, could tell a cowrie from a unicorn
and flint charms, which the sea, for good luck

had softened and sucked its way clean through.
This late winter brings a singing stone

from under the storm down Dunwich way;
a squat grail, half-tunnelled, whose secret eye

sings to my second breath, a frail note
of elfin song, higher than wash of waves;

like instant silver, drawn from its dull ore
gleaming sea-bright in the falling shade.

Copyright © Mike Bannister 2006

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