Poems by
Mark Hickin

Hick’s Barrel

a poem by Mark Hickin

Mark Hickin has a barrel.

The barrel is 3 feet high and 2.5 feet in diameter
And was made in 1817 by an unknown Midlands cooper
It is a proper copper oak construction with a wooden lid
Held securely in place with 19 hand made iron nails.

Mark keeps many things in his barrel.
In fact Mark keeps everything in his barrel.
Scotch eggs. Bread. Oils. Marmalade.
All of his clothes and footwear and also bed linen,
candles and nightcaps
for Mark Also sleeps in the barrel.

When Mark seeks something from within the barrel
for example a cigarette or a pint of bitter he uses a claw hammer
to jemmy open the lid, removes the item he requires
and then carefully and firmly hammers the nails back
to secure the barrel from piracy and itinerants.

The barrel also represents the only functional piece of furniture in Mark’s daily life.
For instance, when Mark attends a restaurant and is seated at a table
he invariably seeks a space nearby so that he can dine from his barrel
using it both as a seat, a table and furthermore as a plate.

It is worth noting also for anyone likely to come into contact with Mark
that it is highly inadvisable to refer to The Barrel in any way.
Mark himself has never made reference to his barrel
and can quickly become violent and extremely confrontational
if any notice is brought to the existence, function or content of his barrel.