Artefacts left by the first humans in Britain have been found in the midland and eastern counties of England, on the course of a now-extinct river named after Castle Bytham, where evidence of its existence was first discovered. It originally rose in the vicinity of what is now Stratford-upon-Avon. Feeling ignored, it has a couple of questions to ask.
Two million years before young William Shakespeare stole the scene,
My waters flowed past Stratford in a land so lushly green.
I was slow and wide and muddy, you couldn’t call me energetic –
Well, why flow fast when slow would do? I didn’t do ‘frenetic’.
But then the climate changed, and I became a different river
As the vegetation withered and the Earth began to shiver.
At last I had a job to do: to transport to the sea
Frost-shattered rocks of Birmingham as gravelly debris.
I flowed so fast and scoured my bed so deeply that I stopped
That other river’s header flows from Wales – the Thames was topped!
With melting glacial water coming every Spring my way,
I was the land’s Prime Drainer – Bytham River ruled, OK!
But now I am no more. How are the proud and mighty fallen;
My course now only traceable in gravels, mud and pollen.
Will Shakespeare’s actors come to learn that once I flowed nearby them?
And will the town be known instead as “Stratford-upon-Bytham”?