The Longest Barrow

The Longest Barrow

The fairies have reclaimed this place

of oak and ash and thorn,

Tentatively taking the mounded earth

Where once the railway ran,

Now stripped of iron and engines

That once drove the Old Ones away.

An immense long barrow it is now,

Holding the forgotten land within,

an England that hides, left behind by time

But never lost and only hidden.

Straighter than nature’s rules allow,

This ridge splits unfamiliar crops;

I swear the fairies came to greet

The rows of roses, an ordered army,

Serried rank on rank without a bloom,

Bred for nameless gardens.

Perhaps when each is dug, encased in pot

Ready for the eager gardener’s hands,

Unseen stowaways may hitch a ride

And recolonise this land with fay.

2 thoughts on “The Longest Barrow

  1. This poem is lovely. The words that stood out for me were “an England that hides” and “unseen stowaways may hitch a ride”. I used to take my children to events run by The Fairyland Trust in Norfolk. The Trust’s main purpose was to open the eyes of children and adults to the magic of our landscape, to reconnect them with nature, and fill them with a sense of wonder. I remember we went on a fairyland trail through the woods and fields, and at the end of the trail was the Fairy Queen, who gave us a packet of seeds as a reward. Those seeds were wild strawberries. We still have them growing in a tub outside our house, several years later; they produce a crop of strawberries every year, and I always think and speak of them as “The Fairy Queen’s strawberries”.


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