Stopping off  for a couple of days in India,

I met a gentle man from Kent

whose speciality was moss.

Very professional he was,

very technical,

using a satellite locating system

to map out and record the whereabouts

of different mosses,



while other holiday-makers were idly lying in the sun,

like seals on a beach,

or doing a splashy crawl

across some hotel swimming pool’s Hockney-blue waters,


(I’ve forgotten his second name)

….Burk? Baker?….

anyhow John, the moss gatherer,

was assiduously filling his notebook

and his camera

with carefully annotated images

and descriptions

of moss.


He had recorded, he told me,

46 varieties,

(both monoicous and dioicous),

of the 12,000  species known to exist.


Just a hobby, he said when I asked him,

no, he didn’t remember when or how it started

but that’s all it was,

a  hobby,

something he and his  friends did

with and in their spare time.


He smiled when I told him

I couldn’t tell a moss from a lichen.Image

One response to “THE MOSS GATHERER

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