Waterslain: ‘Local Historian’
Waterslain (an Norfolk dialect word meaning ‘flooded’) is my name for a group of linked villages in north Norfolk, and in 1986 I published a cycle of poems about some of the villagers I’d known since I was a boy. The words of this ‘found’ poem are all taken from Audrey Earle’s booklet, St Clement’s Church, Burnham Overy and arranged so as to suggest continuities and fractures between then and now.
This poem is the copyright of Kevin Crossley-Holland and is reproduced by permission of the Enitharmon Press.
a found poem
A low flat coastline, sand and saltmarsh;
and a streak of light,
bright as fish scales. . .
Up to 100 tons, malt, coal, corn and oil-cake;
the great granaries and maltings
all converted. . .
Ceased to be
cruciform. Mutilated; mutilated;
now form the Brothercross
on the little green below the church.
Squat, crouching tightly;
the wind sweeping in from the sea. . .
Paid for destroying of Jackdaws;
Paid Gam Gregory
for spreading the mould in the churchyard;
Payd to Joseph Bobbit for a Book
which is concerned with distemper which now rages
amongst the horned cattle;
Paid for 12 Jackdoyes (jackdoyes 3 a 1d.) . . .
A very gruesome story:
in the year 1307
William Umphrey, chaplain, and Robert de Orleyns
boarded his ship,
bound his hands behind his back until
the blood gushed out at the nails,
imprisoned him until. . .
As a boy Horatio Nelson;
a short cut through the churchyard;
the headstones bear many names still very familiar-
Woodget, Parr, Haines, Scoles, Riches, Thompson,
Mason. . .
Have gone; remain; in spite of; whirlpools;
think; walk; rustles; .
For more information about Kevin’s work visit www.kevincrossley-holland.com
St Clement's Church, Burnham Overy Staithe - NHER 1741