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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 7, Number 3, September 2013

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Joy McCall
Norwich, Norfolk, UK


The Straight Road to Yarmouth

the old mill
without roof and sails,
home to bats
a sad kind of place
slowly derelict

Ramblers have trodden a path
past the broken front door on their way to the sea.
There are no houses in sight.

the salt wind blows
across the marshes
all year long
eroding the mortar
stunting the wild reeds

The straight road between the wetlands
is bordered by ditches that run with water.
The ruined mill breaks the monotony of bare landscape.

cows shelter
from the driving rain
on the west side,
a tramp stumbles inside
seeking a place to sleep

He settles heavily, against a crumbling brick oven.
A charred thigh bone falls at his side.
He sleeps like the dead all night, muttering.


Editor’s Note: The stretch of road dubbed “the murderous” Acle Straight, due to the number of motor accidents, connects the village of Acle to Great Yarmouth via Halvergate Marshes. In Saxon times, Great Yarmouth did not exist and what was to become marshland was below sea level; Acle was on the Norfolk coast and was a thriving fishing village. Evidence of Roman occupation was unearthed during construction of the A47 bypass and the area is also believed to have once been a Viking burial site. With the coming of the Normans, the Acle Bridge was built and, over time, the estuary silted up and rivers formed, along with man-made embankments.

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