A Whim – Robin Maunsell

The George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition
1986 Crabbe Memorial Competition – First Prize
Adjudicators: Edward Storey, Edwin Brock

For Stephen and Pearl

Where mist weeps and car lights are beads
we pick a damp way to a country wedding

in April. Someone will pull out the stops
for happiness. I think of love and memory and weather.

Later, between service and reception, we drive
deeper into this county, past make-shift

piggeries, the ghost of a wartime airfield,
down a road that is always whispering

under an abetting sky, to find domestic trees
patient for our arrival. We are looking for the grave

of my grandmother who died in … the year dumb
as these village crossroads at midday; a small jar

of sweets as the thick curtain rose, smile
from a photograph: memory translucent for an instant

as we scour the annexe for her stone,
but to no avail. Whim somehow washed away

in the swirl of time, marl, sunken roads we negotiate
to kiss, shake hands and wish you well.

Copyright © Robin Maunsell 1987

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