Delving in his garden
High up on the North Downs
My father came upon a strange stone,
Shiny, sandy-coloured with darker lines
Running through it.

Seventy million years ago the geologists reckoned
This stone was laid down upon the sea’s bed.
What cataclysmic shrug
Heaved it so high above sea level?

The stone fits neatly into the palm of my hand
As though it was squeezed into shape.
At 95 my father’s grip was still like a vice
Now, when his absence presses on me
I grasp the stone and through its strength
Find a link with my father
And draw nearer to infinity.


Marie was a long-term beloved friend of the family who had developed cataracts. She never let her disability dispel her joy in life. She’s mentioned in Fast Train… and Voices. She died in 1998. RIP. If you would like a copy of her collection Continuity, published by Envoi, email your details to



Continuity – by Marie Barrett