The First Hat by Dick Jones

What was it? Coonskin, wolf
or buffalo (with brain-pan
and horns), or a dewlap

flop of rabbit-skin, the ears
tied in a stone age bow
beneath a simian jaw?

Those bone-hard winters
had the hunters tugging tight
their skins and furs and

with the world beyond so cold
and wild, fire was conjured deep
inside the groins and gullies of

the family cave. Now we wear
cartwheels, space helmets,
baseball caps at daffy angles,

cheesecutters, county trim.
But when there’s a caustic wind
that carries flinty rain, we skim

the jaunty headgear back onto
its hook and reach down the
primal fur, the treated skins

and tug them round our faces,
peering into the peppery storm
like frightened prey.

Dick Jones
Dick Jones has been published in a number of magazines, print and online, including Orbis, The Interpreter’s House, Poetry Ireland Review, Qarrtsiluni, Westwords, Mipoesias, Three Candles, Other Poetry, Rattlesnake and Ouroboros Review. In 2010 Dick received a Pushcart nomination for his poem Sea Of Stars and his first collection, Ancient Lights, is published by Phoenicia Publishing ( His translation of Blaise Cendrars’ influential epic poem ‘La Prose du Transsiberien…’ was published an illustrated collaborative edition with artist Natalie D’Arbeloff by Old Stile Press ( in 2014.

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