The George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition
1996 Crabbe Memorial Competition – First Prize
Adjudicators: Susan Wicks and William Scammell
There would have been a morning like this.
A near empty manor on the edge of the sea
and the waves instructed to be furious.
There would have been a few maids thrashing
cushions and preparing for the visit
that would transcend all previous visits.
The butler would insist on being lame.
There would be gulls liberated by winds
soaring above the punished trees
and the rain would scatter aross the lawns.
There would be a fire reticent with its flames
and footsteps bringing a silver tray
to a seated man who possessed a revolver.
There would be more terrible news of the war.
There would be a little courtesy and
the perfume of something rare and leathery.
The old gardener would be truly soaked
and chatter, sotto voce, to his private demons.
A horse would rear up in a fit of madness
and the cook would weep all over the dough.
Young men of the estate were suddenly beautiful.
Copyright © Julian Stannard 1996