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

They preserve your Glass Town still
in cabinets of sealed, shadowed glass:
those miniature, sewn books,
handwritten to look like print.

You opened that box in summer
when gorse lit the hollowed places
of the moor like slivers of sun
and breezes raised veils of scents.

You named each toy soldier
your brother brought to you
as Adam named the world
that God had called to life.

When all doors against the night
were bolted and your father
set once more the revolutions
of the clock’s mechanical hands,

you magnified your minds with characters
as the spent wax yellowed into
dried river beds down candles

as, beyond that ghostly light,
the early dead sheltered beneath
dated slabs in teh churchyard
with only owls to interrupt

their long silences; those chiselled
names shallowed by time and rain
as you formed those frail, deepening words,
no moorland storms can touch.

Copyright © James Knox Whittet 2003

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