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Owen Gallagher: a poem

Each Season a New Crop of Stones was Harvested

My grandfather grew acres and acres of stones,

granite, basalt, limestone. Each field,

when ploughed, produced a bumper crop

to build walls between his sons

and daughters, between himself and them.

My grandfather was a master builder

who passed on his craft to his children.

They quickly learned the art and laid

load-bearing and interlocking stones

using an A frame, string lines and crowbar.

My father fled over ditches and dykes,

paraded his skills on building sites.

He set up a company with mum

and laid the stones for my foundations.

My mother's contribution was glass.

Back then, I was so transparent.

Owen Gallagher is the author of four poetry collections (you can find them here); the most recent being Clydebuilt, published by Smokestack books in 2019. The Sikh Snowman, a children’s picture book, was published by Culture Matters in 2020 and his poem "Straight Up" was a Guardian poem of the week.


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