George Crabbe Poetry Competition 2022 – 1st Prize
Adjudicator – Blake Morrison
Green canoes with pointed prows, stern raked upwards, bulging keels. Vessels of plenty. Serpentine pods, specked with red. Pale green light, transfusing through veined skin. Emerald membrane, sleeping bag. Swelling beans like bare limbs contoured beneath a sheet. Suspended animation, cushioned in white amniotic velvet. Break the pointed tip, unzip the strings the full length of the spine – call them awake. Slip the beans from their soft uterus, leaving behind yellow filaments, delicate afterbirth. Soft-centre pebbles, newborn. They know nothing but do they sense the sudden change in the light, a shock of colder air? A colander of mangled bedclothes. Aftermath of struggle. Plundered. Broken canoes piled in a scrapyard, ripped, abandoned to decay. A bowl of jade-green slitted pearls, containing next year’s spring. Live protein booty.
Copyright © 2022 Philip Rösel Baker