The Pilgrim’s Way – Nora Roughton

The George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition
1962 Crabbe Memorial Competition – First Prize
Adjudicators: Norman Scarfe, Rev. Pierce Higgins, Paul Jennings

It was the lonely hour when night
Takes slow farewell of dying day –
They saw the shaft of amber light
Hang low above the Pilgrim’s Way.
     They saw the robin raise his head
     And leave the treasured crumbs of bread

They set the house-door open wide
To all the vagrant airs that flow,
And in the twilight gloom inside
They told old tales of long ago.
     Did no-one hear an older tale,
     Borne by the wind across the vale?

Did no-one hear the jingle sweet
Of silver spurs on knightly feet?
Did no-one catch the whisper low
Of french of Stratford-atte- Bowe?
Or scarlet gleam across the path –
The hosen of the Wife of Bath?
None saw the motley cavalcade
Pass, laughing, jesting down the glade.
     Only the robin raised his head
     To watch the passing of the dead.

Copyright © Nora Roughton 1962

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