The George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition
1955 Crabbe Memorial Competition – First Prize
Adjudicators: Sir Francis Meynell, Thomas Moult, R.N. Curry
Remembering the sky that dies to make a town,
Hating the city’s cave of constant night,
O hem of England’s garment, never soil
The gentle adoration of your sky,
The soft, clean sky that answers when you pray!
Cherish its song like some great covenant,
Whose words reach to the mercy of the moon,
Cherish the golden peace that therein dwells,
Peace that weeps from all your trembling stars!
Jealously guard your lullaby of life,
Cherish your lanes from metamorphosis
To sudden streets! Pray that your furrows
May never shudder with indignity of shops!
Don’t let men make your silence din,
Your sun a dirge, day dark, night day,
Your land a mockery, God an ugly grin,
Sincerity a sham nailed to a rotting cross!
And, faithful Suffolk, sweet with sleepy space,
Cherish your horizontal isolation.
Cherish your sky, the index of your soul,
Your mighty marsh whose mud we dredge for dreams,
Your lazy landscape and recumbent charm.
The stirring moonlight from December seas,
That when we go to Suffolk’s yet unknown,
Memory, the orator for our hearts, will say,
“Farewell, farewell, sweet Suffolk, and farewell”.
Copyright © A. E. Tomlinson 1955