The River’s Voice

This poem was written for the Waveney and Blyth Arts recent Poetry Competition, and was ‘Commended’. The subject set was to write about the area that the Rivers Waveney and Blyth  flow through.

I read it at a poetry evening in Diss Cornhall on October 9th.


The River Waveney at Earsham
The River Waveney at Earsham –
Click on the image to enlarge it.



I stood by the Waveney’s infinite flow
to question its banked wisdom;
“How many songs can you sing?”
The stream gurgled a gentle note.
“Do you miss the Bittern’s boom?”
The current brushed the empty reeds.
“Do you dream of flowing uphill?”
The rippled surface gave me sarcasm.
“How many sorrows have you soothed?”
I sensed a reply as long as the journey.

I pondered on the River’s sorrow:
how a road’s width decided its route.
The ditch on the left at Redgrave
flows westward to the Wash, but
the Waveney takes the right side,
creeping East in gentle drifts
that touches on the outer circle of Diss,
silently embraces The Dove
on its endless  flight from Eye,
nurtures cows in mist-quilt meadows,
nursed a Nation’s otters at Earsham,
bends with gentle ease to Bungay,
is  mugged politely by Oulton Dyke,
then poked provocatively at St Olaves
by the intrusive Yare’s  New Cut,
before seduction into merger
as compliant  Breydon Water.
Subliminated –
thereafter mutely current
to the domineering Yare.


Quiet, compliant, wishful Waveney
Silently serving the land that you pass.
We should have given you voice,
announcing that you leave our shore
loudly  at Great Waveneymouth.


You can read more about the Waveney and Blyth Art’s poetry evening in the Diss Cornhall by following the link below:


Ivor reading 'The River's Voice in Diss Cornhall. Image by Lucy Kayne.
Ivor reading ‘The River’s Voice’ in Diss Cornhall.
Photograph by Lucy Kayne.


  1. Alan Sutton

    Dear Ivor,

    We are producing a book on the Waveney Valley and would welcome your permission to use the image with the cows, the River Waveney at Earsham.

    Your co-operation would be appreciated, and of course the image would be credited.

    Kind regards,

    Alan Sutton

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