The George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition
1958 Crabbe Memorial Competition – First Prize
Adjudicators: Sir Charles Tennyson, Philip Larkin, F. Cornford
The dark beside the bright,
The shell of night
That holds and bounds the day.
Love me, if you dare, but praise me,
All good’s measure,
All time’s end,
The parting in the meeting,
The sting, the intensity of pleasure,
The black sun,
Whose shadows are splendid light.
I am not the word, but the silence
Into which the word was spoken;
The seal on the tomb that was broken.
I am the hope and promise of my own defeat.
All opposites unite
And each with other twinned
Grow small by increase, great by loss.
Brief beauty is most lovely;
Save in the quick-drawn bream?
Contrast alone defines,
Gives value, form and shade;
Who can be found but the strayed?
But the damned?
So when you praise
Christ, living, on the cross,
Praise Adam also that he sinned,
And remember me —
I am death.
Copyright © Gillian Edwards 1958