Matthew Barrow


A crocodile – a giant, lumbering jaw
Made of rock – stuck its black stone eyes
Above the water and snorted, irritated
By a cameraman on his belly on the shore,
Squinting into a digicam, dressed in sandy
Safari shorts and a t-shirt, his red elbows
Dipping the water. The crocodile, millions of years older
Than the cameraman, with an ancient, silent brain,
Watched this fidgeting miracle of inventive consciousness
With ignorance, deep calm and a killer instinct.
It did not know that it was awe-inspiring.
But it sensed that the cameraman was trivial
In a way it could never achieve,
That the cameraman’s busyness and lack of
Elemental presence, his silliness, stemmed from having been struck
By a mysterious lightning that it had escaped.
It looked at the cameraman with irritation and bemusement.
It thought about killing and eating him.
But instead it sank away, slowly and


Matthew Barrow is originally from Gloucester but now lives in London. His poems have previously appeared in The North, The Rialto and South Bank Poetry.