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Ramps is Yorkshire dialect for wild garlic, a plant called by the Danes (who invaded and settled in England a thousand years ago) Hrams. The place where I grew up, Ramsgreave, on the edge of Blackburn in Lancashire, comes from the old Danish for 'Grove of the Wild Garlic'. I lived for two years near Ramsgate, at the other end of England - also named by Danes interested in wild garlic. On Easter Monday I picked wild garlic on the banks of the Danube in southern Germany.

Ramps

Screen_shot_2017-12-05_at_08.50.24by Patrick Howse04 Apr 2018

Waters spreading across valleys
From the Swale to the Danube
Bring out leaves, green in springtime,
Glossy in the glancing sunlight,

Plant and name as enduring
As its lingering scent,
Unchanged by the long-shipped
Descendants of Vikings.

In the woodlands of Europe,
United by folk-memory
And the subtle stink
Of wild garlic,

Language and peoples
Bleed together
In the shared worship
Of forgotten gods.