Norfolk

Clouds the size of minor planets,
Cumulonimbuses, and expanding;
Cirrus sunsets mesmerising.
You can tell as we approach
The coastline, you can smell
On a breeze rocksalt and diesel
Even before you see creaking
Metal shop signs, rust flakes
Concealing their meanings.
Intrepid starling squadrons,
Nimblest swifts and swallows;
Birthplace of tsarist pretenders
And far greater adventurous sailors.
You can see these fields of rapeseed
And mustard from space
And if we had our way
We would paint the whole world
For just one day in yellow.
Warblers and wayfarers,
Farmers of the Seas,
Accents as broad as a snoring giant
By folklore kept in Cromer’s cliffs;
At times ineffable, I can hear
My own inflections veer
From North back into the East,
Comfortable as hands in midwinter
Mittens, this never-ending
Friendly vernacular.
Raindrops do not stop
Wrens and finches singing
In a land without misgivings;
Expert chefs with epaulettes,
Neither judgment nor regrets,
And in her epicentre there are
Markets blessed, cathedrals and
A Kingfisher Spirit winding.
Time is slower here,
And though everything has changed
So too has nothing,
For I thought as a child
With those clouds in exile
I could not ever perceive
Bluer skies or as widened,
And though I am ancient
And travel-weary from hills,
That child is yet to be denied
And he is proven still.

I threw my bones out the window
From a room where I once slept,
Photographs abounding
With our divorced and dead.
You know when they’re getting older –
Dust thrives most unchecked;
Dead flies and curdled milk;
There are spiders the size
Of your clenched-up fist
Within their potting shed;
They can readily fall asleep
With nodding heads
By 8.15p.m.

Their Labrador died recently,
Her third leg went,
And I felt that it was palpable,
The quiet blanketing silence
Like a black pall of snow
Over this whole house;
Instead of friendly greetings
There’s a tough wringing
Out of untrustworthy Time
To dry on a washing line
By copper-clad clock hands,
And as a musty tablecloth
Hosts marmalade unopened,
So too the inevitable jar
Of last year’s home-made jam.

5 thoughts on “Norfolk

  1. You had me at “Clouds.” 🙂

    I love the details you include in this, making the imagery so very personally unforgettable. Love this place! The rusty signs even, perhaps especially? A thousand cares, both the unimportant and weighing, away… I’m happy you wrote this long, so I could stay even longer there. “And if we had our way/We would paint the whole world/For just one day in yellow” made me tear up. So beautiful.

    And this! “There’s a tough wringing/Out of untrustworthy Time/To dry on a washing line/By copper-clad clock hands”…. Just.Wow. Simply and deep-sinking and forever-held, wow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I re-read it. I don’t know if I use the words dead, dead and died too frequently in succession. Or if that just re-emphasises the point I am making. 🤔

      Like

      1. I did not notice! So I think it is perfect as is. And if we were analyzing it in my class, we’d call that author’s craft, clever and meaningful use of repetition, and determine the intended significance. 😉 But if you’d like support the other way, 🙂 other tone words would be good, too. Deceased, decayed, rotted, etc. BUT, I also very much enjoyed the sound of this, so my ultimate vote would be no changes. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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