The Crab Man: Commended in the National Poetry Competition


The Crab Man
by Eliot North

Turn left, close the gate
Enter Mariner’s Lane.

The road to the shore
Is all salt and tar.

Go right down to
Correction House Bank.

Smell the fish guts,
Feel it pull you.

Push Gossip’s voice
Far from your mind.

Ignore the shudder
Of trains, overhead.

Down Tanner’s Bank
Pick your way.

Head held high,
Nose to the wind,

Past empty warehouses.
Go to The Crab Man.

Block out the warning
Tone of her voice.

See him in his red robes,
Inside the chainmail door.

Feel the cleaver’s rhythm
Smashed over and over.

Watch how he stills,
Cocks an ear to the sound.

The swish of metal skirts
Closing behind you.

About this poem

First published in 2014.

‘The Crab Man’ was commended in the 2014 National Poetry Competition.

Filmpoem directed by Alastair Cook with cinematography and sound by Eliot North. Commissioned in collaboration with Filmpoem.

From the judges The Crab Man: ”I delight in the concision of this. That’s a very small number of words with which to evoke or whisper a topography, a weather, an economy, a society, faith, loss of faith – it has the coiled strength of a fine short story. It’s controlled, measured, paying out like ship’s rope. Its ear is excellent. Its voice is tight with sorrow, it can’t stop whatever will happen.” – Glyn Maxwell.

‘The Crab Man’ was written in a workshop where ‘Roads’ by George Mackay Brown, was read as a prompt and formed a jumping-off point for the poem.

Eliot North

Eliot North is a doctor, medical educator and writer who lives and works in the North East of England. The poem ‘The Crab Man’ was written and submitted as part of her Creative Writing PostGrad Certificate completed at Newcastle University in 2014. She won the EuroStemCell Creative Non-Fiction Poetry competition in 2013, was commended for the Hippocrates Poetry Prize 2014 and has appeared in Firewords Quarterly. She is currently looking to publish her first poetry pamphlet Suture Lines. She was commended in The Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition 2014.


2 thoughts on “The Crab Man: Commended in the National Poetry Competition

  1. Amazing work, so pleased it’s been recognised!!

  2. Cheers Rach!! xxx

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