Two Poems

By Mark Conners

Holme House Woods

This kissing gate
might kill me.
I wish I hadn’t touched it.
I’ve forgotten my gloves.
My microscopic eyes
detect a scourge
of jostling parasites
smaller than bacteria.
You make me forget
what thrives where it shouldn’t.

You spot a bird
in a beech tree,
ask what name it goes by,
its stub tail erect
as it chitters
in the dapples.
I name it wren.
We both have
much to learn.

I will kiss you,
let you through
the gate, hold the hand
you haven’t washed
since you went
for a pee
when we got up.
I will take the risk.
Look. Two roe deer
in the field.
Like us,
they fear nothing,
for now.

The Magpie song

One for corona
Two for a cold
Three for a psychotic episode
Four for resentment
Five for high death toll
Six for an end to Gregg’s Vegan Sausage roll
Seven for a wedding that can’t go ahead
Eight for a rock star dying in his bed
Nine for three months without a Maccy D
Ten for no daytrips to mountain, lake or sea
Eleven for the football coming back in June
Twelve for Zoom ensemble singing out of tune
Thirteen for lucky
Fourteen for thank fuck
Fifteen to get around to finishing that book
Sixteen for flattening that all important curve
Seventeen for chippy tea
Eighteen for holding nerve
Nineteen for a holiday to end all others
Twenty for reunion with family, friends and lovers.

Mark Connors is a poet from Leeds. His pamphlet, Life is a Long Song was published in 2015, followed by the collections Nothing is Meant to be Broken in 2017 and Optics in 2019.

‘Holme House Woods’ was inspired by a walk in the woods below our village one Spring morning, where we watched two roe deer running through a fallow field. 

‘The Magpie Song’ was written in my head while on a run on a local section of The Pennine Way,. after seeing several magpies. 

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Sarah JB
Sarah JB
2 years ago

Love these!

Jenny Robb
3 years ago

When I first read these, I liked the Holme House Woods one best, but the Magpie one has really grown on me. Both of them capture so many of the thoughts and feelings of lockdown

Moira Garland
3 years ago

I particularly like the magpie poem, its riff on an old rhyme.

Poetry and Covid-19 ARCHIVE (This website archives the over 1000 poems submitted by over 600 poets, and viewed by over 100,000 from over 125 countries during the Covid-19 pandemic, June 2020-June 2021). Thank you to all who took part in the Poetry and Covid project.

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