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Poem to be etched on Norwich’s new city student block

PUBLISHED: 16:06 06 April 2020 | UPDATED: 16:06 06 April 2020

A poem written by Norfolk poet Jenny Pagdin will be etched onto Benedict's Gate. Picture: three-sixty total communications

A poem written by Norfolk poet Jenny Pagdin will be etched onto Benedict's Gate. Picture: three-sixty total communications

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A poem celebrating Norwich and women will be inscribed on the entrance of the city’s new student block.

An artist's impression of how the Benedict's Gate development will look. Pic: Alumno.An artist's impression of how the Benedict's Gate development will look. Pic: Alumno.

Emerging local poets were invited to submit their work, which had to feature the names of all the 12 historic gates of Norwich Old Town Wall, for the exterior of Benedict’s Gate, a student flat development above Barn Road car park.

The commission was won by Jenny Pagdin and her poem called The Sisters of the Gated City.

Ms Pagdin said: “It’s been a wonderful experience and I’m delighted to be involved in this fantastic project. It has totally made my year.

“Few poets get published, let alone have their poem displayed as a permanent monument to their work. I can’t wait for Benedict’s Gate to be completed.”

How the Benedict's Gate development flats will look inside. Pic: Alumno.How the Benedict's Gate development flats will look inside. Pic: Alumno.

Work on Benedict’s Gate, which will include 302 en-suite and studio rooms for students along with communal kitchens and lounges, is due to finish in autumn this year.

The sisters of the gated city by Jenny Pagdin

C13th Walled in at King’s Street Gate for two score years,

my breath still mists out through the stony squint;

meanwhile they have shamed my sister the Scold

out of Ber Street Gate to put her in the stocks.

C16th My sister the Flemish Stranger arrives

through Brazen Gate. She shares her husband’s loom

with us - and his canary pet!

C18th Come, let us stroll past the picturesque ruins

from St Stephen’s Gate to Wilderness Gardens

You may also want to watch:

where an aerostatic globe bobs overhead

while down in the miasma near St Giles’ Gate

our dearest Mary ministers to the sick.

C20th With no stove in the suffrage shop, each lunchtime

we trudge up to St Benedict’s Gate. Deeds, not words!

Maisie Appleton, Wincarnis Works

by Heigham Gate. Health is priceless, we tell our ladies.

C21st I’m Samira, playing peekaboo with my youngest

by the river near old St Martin’s Gate.

In the evening, near St Augustine’s Gate,

I’ll help make up warm welcomes from the City of Refuge.

My eldest boy just finished at Magdalen Gates,

wants to be a lawyer, has opinions on the news;

perhaps the obstetrician who oversaw his birth

has a crash pad near Pockthorpe Gate, perhaps she writes plays,

perhaps the first infant she delivers this morning

(in the suite with a lino-print of Bishop Gate)

will grow up the architect of her own city

watching cranes pivot in a cobalt sky.


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