Friday, 15 August 2008

Michael McKimm - The Lammas Lands (2)

This is where King Alfred beached the Danes,
cut channels in the Lea, created the marsh,
and, post-battle, post-hot-scorched summer,
post heady festival of loafmass, gave them over
kindly to the serfs as common land, to graze
their cattle and tackle the unshodden horses.
Land too thick for crops, too wet for housing,
land wept cunningly from warfare, strategy,
pre-planned hard labour of soldiers, slaves,
serfs, was handed over, piecemeal, between
August and March, as feeding space, lambing
land, recreation ground, where people came
from the parishes of Homerton and Hackney
to break the bread, to celebrate the harvest.

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