Discover Norwich of the past, present and future through newly commissioned poems from five brilliant writers with ties to the city. Wandering Words is a literary walk, created to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of Norwich becoming England’s first UNESCO City of Literature.
The Plantation Garden
Location one: 4 Earlham Rd, Norwich NR2 3DB
Start your journey at The Plantation Garden; a beautiful, three-acre Victorian Garden built within an abandoned chalk quarry.
The Garden was created by successful furniture maker and Baptist minister, Henry Trevor, between 1857 and the 1870s. Featuring a stunning gothic fountain, Italianate features, woodland walks, vast flower beds, and a Victorian-style greenhouse, it’s the ideal location for a spot of reading, writing or picnicking.
‘Plantation Garden’ is written and performed by Piers Harrison-Reid, a performance poet and A&E nurse.
Listen to the poem with soundscape
Listen to the poem
Listen to the soundscape
Sound design and production by Access Creative College (Bill Skipp).
Read ‘Plantation Gardens’
When I lose myself
To the inner trembling
The loose threads
Snagged on some branch or thought
Through iron gates blooming, woven
Begin to weave myself
In the shadow of cathedral
A gothic-flint fountain
Ringed by Rothko colours
A secret sanctuary
in the centre of the city
Formed of a former quarry
Full of folly
40 years’ work
80 years of decay
Its garden reached wide-eyed at the sun
As this city grew and changed
The sounds of lace and shoe work echoed
over the trees,
Chocolate and mustard filled the air,
then all ebbed away.
What is it to be rediscovered?
The foxes and butterflies
Relaxing in shafts of golden light
The hidden signs and signatures
The faces in the rock
And with sinkholes swallowing buses,
Perhaps it tried to keep its secrets
Behind its empty windows and doorways
Did it know it was lost?
A Preservation Trust
Is an ill-fitting name
For those that made a perfect space
Surrounded by walkways
Which hold echoes of all of us unwoven ones
Who too have beamed and basked
In those shafts of golden light
These spaces hold our history
Hold our hands
Hold our hope
How do we shape them?
What will we be remembered by?
Though none can fistfight time
Perhaps there is some trust for us
Who will hear our echoes
See our follies and flaws
Rothko ringed and beaming
Our tired walls
Our battered bones
And bring us back
Make us home
Piers Harrison-Reid is a performance poet primarily inspired by his real-life big boy job as an Accident and Emergency Nurse, and the stories of life and loss from the people he meets there. Now perhaps best known for his viral love poem to the NHS ‘Love is for the brave’, he has supported the likes of Buddy Wakefield and Scroobius Pip, performed internationally and toured Scotland and England. He has featured on BBC Look East, is a weekly guest on BBC Radio Norfolk, has performed at a multitude of summer festivals including stages at Bestival and Latitude, and given keynote speeches to conferences including the Chief Nursing Officer of the NHS. Headshot is from Visit Norwich brand launch 2019, photo credit Simon Finlay Photography.
A Norfolk & Norwich Festival and National Centre for Writing presentation, programmed by the National Centre for Writing.
A special thank you to our sound production partners Access Creative College: Harry Love, Jamie Lovett, William Plane, Mia Rodwell and Bill Skipp, supported by Matt Munford, Jonny Cole and Dylan Barber.