When I walk into Norwich on the
Road I choose when I want the world’s company,
It reminds me of Green Lanes in my 1980s
Harringay, a bustle of shops and people from
Anywhere but here, who have made new homes
In this minor metropolis so far from somewhere.
Trays open out into the busy street;
Cabbages the size and shape of an artisan loaf;
All colours and heat of pepper; different shades
Of onion; outsized broccoli, leaves and stems
And outlandish fruit I can only imagine
The taste of. A bus runs by, faces gaping at this
Pandora’s Box of flavours and countries.
This is where pennies buy pounds, where hidden
Nooks turn into busy butchers and bakeries,
Where the shelves reveal new treasures no matter
How often I read them, where the sunshine
Of this strangest autumn can’t reach. And
Across the road, the richness of freshly-brewed
Coffee, and the hum of multiple voices,
Different tongues, serious and smiling faces.
I turn away, and start my walk back up the hill,
Away from the ruins of the old city’s walls,
Narrow twists between empty showrooms,
Residential homes, and student houses, tattoo
Parlours, and undertakers, and pubs, and
Doctors’ surgeries, supermarkets full of processed
Food, and ask myself where home really is for any
Of us. This beating heart of a city never stills.
R 22/10/2023 16:41