The George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition
1957 Crabbe Memorial Competition – First Prize
Adjudicators: John Hadfield, T.R. Henn
Half in the lake I pause and stand.
I may not move to launch away,
But in the shallows stare and stay
Between the water and the land.
Here, where the floating lily lies,
Where grasses bend above the pool,
The air is lustrous with the cool
Fragility of dragonflies,
As one by one or two by two
They hover in a slender sheen,
Green in a subtlety of green,
Blue as the pure idea of blue.
They hand and flit or stud a reed
In jade and azure parallels,
The straight bodied desmoiselles
That bend so lissomly at need;
The live yet lapidary things
With dip and turn and sway and lift,
Darting or poised upon the swift
Invisibility of wings.
And here I stay and watch alone.
Alone? Or could they strangely tell,
These that I love and know so well,
They are more loved and better known?
That, where the sun-shot alders lean,
Some jeweller angel of this place
Makes as a portrait of a Face
This live yet lapidary scene:
A figure cut in ivory
Set in a moonstone, lapped with light;
And, hung on blades of malachite,
Brooches of lapis lazuli?
Copyright © Francis Engleheart 1957