Two Poems by Mark Connors


We’re in Scarborough. You’re the first one up, nipping for a paper. You’re wearing an unpleasant brown polo shirt mum got you from the catalogue. It accentuates your hardened gut. Everyone you pass smiles back at you. They always do. You get talking to someone about something. He finds you odd at first, your ease at slipping into lives for just a moment. But you’ll mark him with your levity, your charm and affability and you’ll move on before he wants you to. You buy The Daily Express. We don’t understand.  I like to get my news from the other side too, you say. You comment on the headline to the man behind the counter. On the way back to our digs, you get talking to a woman with a yapping highland terrier. You’ve been a postman for years but dogs still don’t like you. You walk back through the door as if nothing has happened.

I Like Birds

My father was a postman.
He asked a woman
if she would save him envelopes
from letters her sister sent from Ceylon.

He brought them home to me
so I could soak stamps off.
I didn’t care if they were franked:
brown-capped babbler,
crimson-fronted barber,
Legge’s flowerpecker,
white-faced starling.

I made up calls for all of them,
me, a precocious virtuoso of exotic birdsong.

Mark Connors is a poet and novelist from Leeds. His poetry pamphlet, Life is a Long Song was published by OWF Press in 2015. His first collection, Nothing is Meant to be Broken was published by Stairwell Books in 2017. His second collection, Optics, was published by YAFFLE in 2019. His third collection is due out later in 2021.

Two Poems by Kate Jenkinson

When Grandpa Built Sandcastles

Those salt and vinegar days
and freshly laundered nights
pool in my mind, bucketed under
‘holiday memories with Grandpa’
revisited as often as the rain, 

as familiar as pavement petrichor
worn smooth as pebbles,
yet short, sharp, distinct,
their postcard length lines
make me wish I was there again.

Memories of Grandpa 

One gold sleeve garter,
the donkeys bray,
smell of wild garlic,
spritzed with sea spray.

Your Underwood typewriter,
Little Wuff stories,
whispered voices in
Bridlington Priory.

My hand in yours
I’ll hold to this day,
tucked up in my memory
neatly folded away.

Kate Jenkinson is a Northern poet, Manchester Literature Poetry Slam and Squiffy Gnu competition winner and published in Covid and Poetry, Rainbow Poems and Eyeflash Poetry Journal. Kate performs spoken word at open mics whilst working on her pamphlet. She writes about science, nature, relationships and leadership.  

Kate with her Grandpa

Kate’s Nana and Grandpa

Kate Jenkinson

A Poem by Greg Freeman


You must have been seven.
I’m in a home-made
Father’s Day T-shirt
that your mother organised,

that I carelessly only wore once,
but look in the photograph
rumpled, bronzed,
happy. You cuddling up to me

on the Solent ferry, returning
from the island, escorted
by yachts engaged in a race.
Now you’re a beautiful, loving

mother of two. That sweltering
summer we only went in the sea
after tea. Enclosed my mother
in our embrace, a year after

my father died. The disco
in the café when you all
got up to dance: the last time
I felt him at my shoulder.  

Greg Freeman is the news and reviews editor for the poetry website Write Out Loud. His 2015 debut pamphlet Trainspotters (Indigo Dreams) includes several poems about his father, who was a former Japanese prisoner of war and put to work on the notorious ‘Death Railway.’ His father died in 1989.