Rural – Jersey Country Life Magazine


We continue our celebration of the Jèrriais language on the run up to European Day of Languages with Marianne Coutanche’s poem, Lé Mèr.

My grandparents were potato growers and farmed a cotîl above their house in L’Etacq. Dad told me when he was very young he would go vraicking down at L’Etacquerel with their neighbour. They used to give him a small paper bag of jelly babies to keep him happy while he held the horse.

Over the summer, I went for a wander around the rocks at the base of Faulkner Fisheries and found the cobbled vraicking path leading down to Petit Cômier. The law stated that vraicking was not to start until the sea had receded as far as the rocks at the bottom of the path. This was know as the vraic marker, or in Jèrriais, lé mèr.

Lé Mèr

Each day he waits, dutifully,

for the tide to reach its mark.

Sure footed on hard round cobbles,

un c’mîn cut through black L’Etacq rock.

Les cliouques cliapotent at boots, sunk,

ears tuned to the clyique of the vrai.

Sickle and frouque poised at the tarred

waterline, awaiting the cliaque of the gun.

The harvest takes place in earnest,

at the lifting of the Moon’s sluice.

Hèrnais heaped with salt-sodden haul,

back braced with strap and harness.

Hooves heavy, heaving for the

headland, traced with vieillottes à lis.

Fruits of hard labour stacked, ready,

precious fertiliser from the sea.

To hear this poem read aloud visit Marianne’s website:, where you will also find a glossary of terms.



Latest News

Rural Post Sign Up

Join our mailing list and stay up to date with the latest news.

* indicates required

Crosby Media and Publishing Ltd will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing. Please let us know all the ways you would like to hear from us:

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please visit our website. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Related Posts