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A crane has arrived to sit on the castle

Location: Norwich Castle, Castle Hill, Norwich, NR1 3JU

Map showing location of Norwich Castle

Cranes were recorded in medieval bestiaries as sentinel birds, watching over lands and animals/people. They held stones in their claws that would fall if they fell asleep, making a noise to wake them.

Listen to the poem

Read the poem

In nine hundred years a different crane
will hover, yellow and loud, over the still-standing
castle keep. This crane, flying high, 
knows this, but does not know how 
it knows this. It does not know it is part
of a long line of cranes who will fly 
above the buildings of this city
watching for enemies, pushing back
even time, even the weather, even 
the onslaught of Victorian restoration.
Each crane holds a stone; if the crane falls
asleep, the stone falls, clattering the crane
awake. Cranes lift and drop stones on the castle
for centuries until one day the roof 
is open again, and the sun is yellow.

Follow the trail

Stay at Norwich Castle for poem 3: A stag ponders his place on the Buxton Achievement