Selected poems by Matthew Rice


(Auschwitz, 1943)

His careful, intimate hands
cupped like a pilgrim,
the man with the big smile,
carrying sweets for the children.


Three Hares

‘They were trees, and trees don’t weep or ache or shout.
And trees are all this poem is about.’ –
from ‘Two Trees’ by Don Paterson

What direction
that trio of brown hares took,
spirit-bounding across my sight,
has nothing so much to do with omen
as with any Boudica style tit for tat.
They disappeared around the cafe corner:
into mystery, perhaps,
but still wholly in the world –
and that was that.

(First published in Live Encounters, October 2016)


The Weight of a Rock

to the end they will look at us
with a calm and a very clear eye
Zbigniew Herbert, ‘Pebble’

The rock in my hand
is unconcerned by the human value

I place in its symbolism,
that the weight of a rock

is easier borne than the soul,
by being inside my fisted palm

or how light it feels to me.
It is impervious to the tightening of my fingers

and, when I open my hand,
the swelling emptiness it leaves.

(First published in FourXFour Poetry Journal, August 2015)


About Matthew Rice:

Matthew Rice was born in Belfast in 1980. He now lives and works in Carrickfergus, County Antrim. He is currently studying for his BA Honours in English Language and Literature.

Matthew has published poems in magazines and journals on both sides of the Atlantic, including The Asheville Poetry Review and The Honest Ulsterman. He was one of six new poets showcased in a reading to mark Poetry Day Ireland, organised by Poetry NI and Poetry Ireland. His work was chosen for the 2016 Community Arts Partnership anthology, Connections, funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

He was long-listed for the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing, and short-listed for the FSNI National Poetry Competition, both in 2016, and short-listed in The Hennessey Award for New Irish Writing in the same year. He was chosen for Lagan Press’s ‘12NOW’ (New Original Writers) series, in association with the Verbal Arts ‘Reading Rooms’ programme, and is one of Eyewear Publishing’s Best New British and Irish Poets 2017, selected by Luke Kennard. He has recently compiled his first collection of poems, entitled Door Left Open.

Matthew contributes regularly to the Monthly and works as a facilitator for Community Arts Partnership’s Poetry in Motion Project.

For more information about Matthew Rice please visit or listen to his interview.

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