“Flint is one of the materials featured in the LIDO exhibition and the use of pre-historic methods of flint knapping. I wanted to write a ‘foraging’ kind of poem about this important, ancient stone.”


Strike the flint, create a spark,

a glint of golden light from dark.

Hold the flame to give it life,

let amber, gold and red ignite.


The fire grows, uncurls and breathes.

a living creature in the breeze.

Twisting, leaping flames dance on,

man found a way to make the sun.


Our ancestors smiled, they gathered round,

to sit upon the wild ground.

Meat was cooked and stories shared,

the fire would listen as it flared.


A sacred source of heat and light,

a comfort through a bitter night.

Wild creatures feared this dazzling glow,

retreating back to forest homes.


A burning secret, a hidden blaze,

locked inside a crystal glaze.

A fire encased in a stone cold shell,

we learned to break this hidden spell.


An ancient weapon, a sharpened edge,

a knife, a blade, an arrowhead.

An axe, a spear, a hunting tool,

historical, ancient fire-jewel.


An unremarkable looking stone,

not like a ruby, jade or pearl.

A type of quartz, a milky sheen,

a mottled grey, a smoky gleam.


Strike the flint, absorb the past.

Splintered fragments fall like glass.

Millions of years lie in your hand,

the history of an early land.


Posted by Max Mowbray on Friday 19 August 2022