Flanders Moss NNR
They came from the glens in the higher lands
cleared like weeds for the sheep by the fat lairds
scraped their way from one job to another.
When they met the Moss, they fought it hard
tugged the life from it
tossed its sodden heart into the Forth
watched it float, brown and drowned
to the sunrise and the flat wide firth.
All the skill of men and all the skill of women
squeezed out of the brown ooze
flushed into the river, nothing now but waste.
For eight thousand years this place had grown
feeding on the rain and the deadness within it
layering and dying and breathing
all its beauty a wet thing of the wind and rain.
Now, a rump of Moss holds on
a soft jewel set in the flat land
slowly forming in lucent green
the Moss Lairds’ shouts blown to the hills
their whispers buried in peat.
Charlie Gracie grew up in Baillieston, Glasgow.
His work has appeared in a range of anthologies and journals, with some listed for literary prizes, including the Bath Novel Award, Cambridge Short Story Prize and Bridport Poetry Prize.
His first novel, To Live With What You Are (2019) was published by Postbox Press. His poetry collections, Good Morning, (2010) and Tales from the Dartry Mountains (2020), were published by Diehard Press.
He is the 2020 official Scriever for the Federation of Writers (Scotland), and Chair of the Scottish Writers’ Centre.
He now lives in Thornhill, on the edge of Flanders Moss with his family.
You can learn more about Charlie’s creative work and buy his books at www.charliegracie.scot