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Page last updated at 10:46 GMT, Wednesday, 22 April 2009 11:46 UK
Poem: Wheel Of Norfolk

By Kevin Crossley-Holland
Blogging Norfolk contributor

Kevin Crossley-Holland performs his poem Wheel Of Norfolk

This hubbub, all this hullabaloo: a romping northwesterly
rippling the pantiles, and our barn-hulk itself troubled
and booming, a silver torque of gulls screaming
around tractor and plough. That's what it amounts to.

So where to begin? Not with an early field-map
- I can't locate one - otherwise I'd sing each airy acre.
With our seven Burnhams, then, and without forgetting
those half-forgotten: Saint Edmund, Saint Andrew, Ulph.

Now with people near as heartbeats: the Viking in his mound
and White Friars in their ruins; Dalmatian horsemen, manning
the green breasts of the shore fort, freezing and homesick,
with a stroppy cohort - auxiliaries from Aquitaine.

Here's my spoke of light. Today it's chalky, blossoming,
weightless yet substantial, and as the wind runs out of breath,
starting to seethe. This is heaven's doorstep.
Gallow Hill looks ready to heave and take off.

This is the spoke of colours, lit from within:
marsh-green and sea-lavender, marram, duck-egg, woad;
the limewash of flinty churches, my stopping-places,
my taking-stock places, one my final destination.

Work (and the lack of it), summer visitors in shoals,
affordable housing; innocent by-lanes and decaying piles;
sugar-beet clamps, hectares of rape; Nelson and Coke
and half-a-dozen familiar names: each one's a spoke.

Here's the flight of the barn-owl who beats our bounds,
ghostlike and unhurrying, and all the small fry
(not only thirteen blackbirds) feasting in our beds,
these and threshing echelons on flight-paths to Scolt Head.

Chalk Hill. This is my hub, always still, always turning.

And here at home this morning, I map my wheel of Norfolk.




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