Tag Archives Greenland

MARTIN MERE WETLAND, LANCASHIRE

Before the marsh on the coastal plain was drained –

to turn the dark, rich glacial soil

into the broad fields of market gardens,

selling fresh produce south to the port city

burgeoning daily from mouth to mouth –

the mere was vast, eight square miles and more.

 

Family groups wandered the margins –

to fish, collect eggs, snare birds. Settlements

became hamlets, became villages:

cutting the reeds for thatching, cutting the peat

for cooking fires from the ice age bogland.

 

***

 

The long orangey-pink streaks of sun setting

over the Irish Sea turn the lake

from silver to pewter, and the birds

to cut-outs. A two carriage commuter train

crosses at the furthest edge, its windows

rectangles of bright yellow in the twilight –

as the watchers in the hides observe,

in a barely whispered wonderment,

thousands of pink-footed geese appear.

 

They are wintering here from the breeding grounds

in the mountains of Iceland and Greenland –

by day feeding on stubble fields, in the dusk

settling noisily on these dark waters

with their poignant, slightly throaty calls,

their myriad wings black in the fading light.

 

 

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