Matthew Barrow


The wall around Dad’s house is pale and crumbling stone.
Once on a visit I found out
He was having it rebuilt, and behind the house
Sat a pile of abandoned rocks, large and small
That he was selling off, a ton at a time.

At the back of the garden near the old shed
He had placed one big stone, a giant he’d found,
I don’t remember where, that stood four feet tall.
He’d buried its base so it held upright,
Looking like a monument, old and primal.

Joking about, I suggested painting it
And he said no, you can’t do that… and I saw in his face
Even joking about it went against the satisfaction
It gave him – an old stone standing in the ground,
Ageless and unnamed, set up for its own sake.


Matthew Barrow is originally from Gloucester but nowadays live in London. His work has appeared in publications including The Rialto, The North, Runcible Spoon and The Poetry Village. His website is frozenduckblog.com.