Moss Lairds by Charlie Gracie

Flanders Moss NNR

Moss Lairds

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

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

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