What "the long daisies" mean in the passage? The passage is from The Ferryman (Jez Butterworth)

AUNT MAGGIE. No, I’ll answer. The truth, girls. The truth is… I loved a man who loved another. He was from Killborren. His name was Francis John Patrick Maloney. The son of a house painter. All the boys from our village were small and pasty and dark, or bright ginger goblins with blue skin and clammy hands, like deep-sea fish, but shyer. But Francis Maloney… Francis had a long strong back and golden hair. Bronzed skin. And green eyes. Like a minor river god. Like Morrigan sprung to life in Kilborren. From the age of ten, whenever I spied Francis I was struck cross-eyed with lust. My mouth went dry. My heart sped to bursting. I’d lie awake at night dreaming of us being together, going swimming together in the river, lying on the bank after, in the long daisies. And then one day packing up all the small things we owned and sailing off to America to live in New York, ride the subway with our ten fair-haired, green-eyed boys and girls. Tuck them to bed and sit up at a rickety table with one candle, drinking bourbon and branch water, reading each other Whitman, Thoreau, Emily Dickinson.

  • Have you looked up these words in a dictionary? Long daisies would be daisies that have grown long, or tall. "In" can mean "among".
    – Astralbee
    Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 8:08

1 Answer 1


In most contexts, length is a horizontal measurement. Height is the usual measurement of how tall something is. For example, we refer to a person's height, yet babies who haven't yet learned to stand are measured for length.

However, there are a few things that we idiomatically use "length" for regardless of the direction in which they grow, such as hair, and some kinds of plants. This is particularly common when referring to grass. This ngram is interesting and shows that "long grass" was historically used far more than "tall grass", although in recent decades there has been some variation.

So "long daisies" mean daisies that have grown long, or tall. "In" can mean "among", so "lying... in the long daisies" means they were lying down among the long, or tall daisies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .