'What is a Norwich' - Piers Harrison-Reid

10 September 2019

What is a Norwich?

I say I’m from Norwich…
They say, what is a Norwich?

What is a Norwich?
Where should I start?

Norwich, you are wonderful:
You are so beautiful in the mornings,

your air so crisp and clean.
Your hidden parties and

parting streets cobbled and calling out their stories.
So many stories.
But it’s your warmth – which kept me here

buzzing to burst out of your seams…

Many have memories of the chocolate and mustard notes floating out over your streets.
Or the sounds of the lace and shoe workers filling the air; strangers in their own skins, making new homes,

making you home.
Becoming the living and breathing heart of the city.
You made them welcome under your wings;

Even the keen eye of the castle is imported.

But you will never be seen peacocking or showing off

to your friends; you’re humble as we Toast your fine name, all bashful smiles…

Maybe that’s why you still feel like our little secret.

Norwich, it’s an honour to know you.

It’s your warmth.
It’s your warmth.
Somehow, even in the UEA’s grey concrete, we become tattooed with ziggurats.
It’s your warmth,

which flows from under everything.

It’s: fresh-faced arts students vibrant in the light balanced with your proud history; laughter evaporating up over Magdalen and the river; secret plantation oases hiding away from the bustle of the best covered market in Britain.

All under the panoramic gaze of Mousehold, with your cobbles and cathedrals gently glowing in the night.

It’s your warmth…

You calmly delight in your years, and we delight in you.

We unwrap ourselves,

interweave with you,

carry you with us wherever we go,
until you pull us

back when other places aren’t quite enough ‘you’…

Yeah Norwich, it’s your warmth which defines you.
Soon enough, they’ll see it too.

Piers Harrison-Reid

A poem for Norwich, filmed at the Sir Garnet by Meantime Media.