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.