Farewell Little Woolden Moss.
Farewell Great Manchester Wetlands –
an end of contract and news of a failed job interview
fall on the same day but I haven’t failed
because we planted that last plant,
that last little plug plant of common cottongrass,
greening and rimmed with red like a sunset,
ready to turn golden next month’s dawn.
Farewell to hare’s tail cottongrass,
tails showing like the tails of brown hares
racing up and down the bunds like celebrities.
Farewell to all eleven species of sphagnum,
bog rosemary, cross-leafed heath, long
may you grow and prosper beauties.
Farewell to the oyster catchers who we saw
back-to-back on the bund, reflected in the water,
who cried weep weep in the air far from human tears.
Farewell to the lapwings in their black-and-white mating flight.
Farewell to the curlews with their cur-lee cur-lee-eee,
to the four flying over with down-curved beaks.
Farewell to the skylarks keeping our spirits up
and to the meadow pipits piping away.
Farewell to those I worked with now friends.
Farewell to the porter cabin and the fact we had a toilet.
Farewell to the journeys down the M6 (busy and contentious).
Farewell to a journey now complete – back home now
I will wait, again, to hear the will of the gods…
This poem relates to the completion of the contract work I have been carrying out planting on Little Woolden Moss for the Lancashire Wildlife Trust and my failure, on interview, to gain the paid position of Great Manchester Wetlands Trainee.
These photographs show the development of common cottongrass on a mossland over time.