Dead wood in the pool below the weir,
mud on the banks:
above the rushing fall, still water
beneath the concrete road

where my mother, who saw the first car
drive up Eaton hill,
never felt at home

Water is like memories:
sometimes still and deep,
sometimes rushing through
bearing dead wood,
old lives, flowing into uneasy corners

Her birthplace is buried now, and so is she,
quiet on a brambled hill
three miles away,
and where she ate breakfast
I buy foreign food

But this was home for her:
she would have known that bridge
and those cottages:
the way the river ran:
unnamed paths and
the churchyard where her husband’s brother rests

And like those old houses,
she won’t let go:
a swollen, generous stream,
she keeps returning

> Cringleford is a village just outside Norwich. It adjoins Eaton, now a Norwich suburb, which was a village itself when my mother was born there in 1911. This poem was written ten winters ago.