The George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition
1972 Crabbe Memorial Competition – First Prize
Adjudicators: Hester Marsden-Smedley, Leslie Norris, N. Hidden
The partings are final,
Railway stations are specially designed
For momentary heartbeat.
No car door will slam
Hurried steps, an apologetic knock
And, ‘I’ve left my gloves’.
But instead down the platform,
Loaded with mail-bags and strange slatted crates,
A whistle blows
And wailing, somehow embarrassed mind
Suddenly search for one complete, overwhelming word,
Which never comes.
In its place comes the inadequate;
‘See you next week’, or even just;
And when the train has slid into the dark
Some turn, or shrug with duty done,
Or pat a patient dog.
But some, the young, the untaught, stand naked,
Each crudely bisected from the one person who can
Make the face smile again.
Copyright © David L Johnson 1972