Two Poems by Neil Elder


Just like that cardigan you wore,
it shaped itself to your very being.
How is it that an old thing can carry
so much of a person?
The handle, worn smooth as stone,
somehow warm where your strong hands
held fast.
This spade, the remnants
of the dirt you lifted,
holds something of you.

I say your name quietly;
in dark purple blooms
not named by any botanist.

The theme is …

This is where I duck out;
the moon’s too big for just one person.

Give me a tiny moonstone to write about,
or better still, a moon shaped stone
that fits upon my palm.

Like the stone I took away from the shore
the day I gave an urn of ashes to the sea:
a trade that, like the tide,
keeps returning you to me.

Neil Elder’s full collection The Space Between Us won the Cinnamon Press Debut Prize, and his Codes of Conduct won their pamphlet prize. This year he has a pamphlet Like This appearing with 4Words Press. He occasionally blogs at 

Two Poems by George Colkitto

Day Trips with Dad

It was what he did when we went away for the day,
made up sandwiches, egg, cold bacon. If we were
being posh – salmon,  a little bit of salad, lettuce,
tomato, cucumber.  It did not matter how far we
were going, he took a kettle – a stove – the kitchen
sink, everything so that we wouldn’t  have to go in
somewhere and pay exorbitant prices. We watched
the fun, his excitement as he tried to light a Primus
stove, in the wind and out in the rain, to make a cup
of tea. Get a rug out of the car, spread over the wet
grass, determined we would enjoy a picnic, despite
dampness creeping up his legs as he handed us our

The Hut                                     

in this summer brightness
I am a pup again with Dad
outside the garden shed as he saws
to fix a step for me to mount
the rocking horse whose head he crafted
in the shed at his vice
whose eye he painted and whose reins
made of ribboned cord hang loose for me
the mane an old brown carpet strip
I watched him tack with care
and did not dare to say I hated how it felt
to me like cotton wool in Aspirin shiver
and baking in the sun I shiver as if
the future had come shadowed and adult
he smiles at my impatience holds out his hand
and I step up to his step

in the hut are his drawer of sharpened chisels
the carefully adjusted planes the line of lasts
from father down to me
leather wax and thread for him to repair shoes
I wear happily strike sparks from segs
click click my way into today.

The Hut was first published in Brantwood, Cinnamon Press, 2019

George Colkitto writes for the pleasure of words. Recent publications are two poetry collections from Diehard Press, The Year of the Loch and Waitin tae meet wie the Deil and a pamphlet from Cinnamon Press, Brantwood, that place of Little Green Poems.

George’s Mum and Dad, 1957

A Poem by Louise Warren

The Cartographer’s Last Day

He knows the place, the crop
between the shallow hills,
at the parting of a cart track
or on a cliff’s narrow ledge.
Each journey has a cost.

Barbed wire, brambles, a horsefly’s sting,
his arms threaded with scarlet,
the juice of sloes, wild damsons, plum,
blood, his white hair invaded by leaves and burrs.
This is his lot.

Once, upended by a stile
and full length upon the grass, he found an orchid.
A tiny slip of a thing, and never said a word.
Others have tried to follow him on his wild scramblings,
searched the fields at dawn but found nothing.

He knows the source,
the lip of a well, buried beneath nettles,
a chapel felled into a wood
where he eats his lunch, back against the wind.
He sees ghosts, but never marks them on his map.

This is a time before satellites,
when people found their way through the world
by marking it, pushing through
waist high in bracken.
He pushes on and down into the valley
where the green covers his head like the sea.

First published in A Child’s Last Picture Book of the Zoo,
Cinnamon Press 2012

Louise Warren was born and grew up in the West Country and now lives in London. Her first collection A Child’s Last Picture of the Zoo won the Cinnamon Press debut poetry competition and was published in 2012. A pamphlet, In the scullery with John Keats, also published by Cinnamon, came out in 2016. Her poems have been widely published in magazines including Ambit, The Butchers Dog, Stand, Poetry Wales and Rialto. In 2018 she won first prize in the Prole Laureate Poetry Competition with her poem The Marshes which appears in her new pamphlet, John Dust, illustrated by the artist John Duffin and published in 2019 by V.Press.

Louise’s father

Louise writes that “He was very much a west countryman and worked as a Surveyor for the Ordnance Survey, a job he loved … his love of the outdoors is evident in this poem.” She has very happy memories of her father, whose birthday was on 17 April. Good Dadhood has pleasure in celebrating it with Louise here today.

Two Poems by Sarah Watkinson


Your Whole Life Passes Before You

You will probably say we were in no danger at all –
they would have missed us and launched the lifeboat from its station,
but I can tell you the waves were the height of a bus
and if there was no risk of drowning it was a pretty good imitation.

And perhaps that narrow path up Cnicht was perfectly safe,
in regular use by hikers and even herds of cows,
but I know I was less than a foot’s breadth from a precipice,
and so terrified I could only freeze

and I’m grateful for these fear-etched memories to my daring father –
these mind-scenes set for reading and dreams:
deep sea, honey of clutched clumps of heather.


My Father’s Bear​​​​​​​​

Your lead model bear stands on my desk
in a space among pencils, chargers, staples and stamps
and when I try to arrange things in an orderly way

I respect his place beside a green glass paperweight
under the lamp, and feel his displeasure if I tip him over
which is easy to do as he stands upright, on small hind paws.

Home from the army, you took Bear from your pocket
placed him on the pub table like a small portable comrade
and said to my mother and me, ‘Let’s give Bear a drink’

your tankard angled to the leaden lips
of the little figure like a Roman household god
dug up from some once-dangerous outpost of empire.

I’d like a museum to display Bear some day
part of this British soldier’s personal kit
alongside mess tin, forage cap and Sam Browne belt.

But maybe I am wrong about all this. Maybe
that business with the bear was your kindness
to a jealous little daughter you’d hardly met.


Published in Pennine Platform


Sarah Watkinson has been writing and studying poetry since 2012 after a scientific career in plant biology. Her work has appeared in UK anthologies and magazines including Antiphon, Litmus, Pennine Platform, The Rialto and the Morning Star, and has been successful in several competitions. ‘Dung Beetles Navigate by Starlight’, her debut pamphlet, was a winner in the 2017 Cinnamon Pamphlet competition.