Mark Totterdell – four poems

The Rose and Crown

No passing trade; nowhere to pass to
now, the road east a dead
end. North from the car park,
just dull wide flatness. Lead.

The levels rose and rose,
this hill now a shallow promontory.
South from the window, a glimpse.
Sunlight on water. Mercury.

The Pig’s Nose

Roasting by the fire that crackles in the grate,
surrounded by a rash of all sorts of pigkind,
I’m on the Eddystone, but after half a gallon,
the squealing of the gale blows my mind

out over the bristly fields, up past Gammon
Head, the Ham Stone, over the salted water,
the swinefish caught in the waves as they break
on the blades of the shore, seahogs to the slaughter.


Among the grass of our safe childhood garden,
we found a tiny monster, which had fallen,
ugly as sin, from somewhere in the skies.
We gaped at its impossible, pink foulness,
a shocking, insupportable near-foetus,
with dull blue bruises where it wanted eyes,

and as we stared in unbelieving wonder,
it forced our eyes to open ever wider,
and climbed into our minds, where it took hold.
Thus were we dispossessed of our snug haven,
thrown to the wicked world, our nest unwoven,
our new horizons vast and grim and cold.

Beach Café

Wavelets corrugate the sea;
light reflects at countless angles.

One swimmer, braving November,
cuts the ruffles, creates

a wake which better mirrors
the cold sky. He’s trailing

his own patch of brightness;
the tail of a comet

or a slightly time-lagged aura.
A treat of the light.

Mark Totterdell’s poems have appeared in many magazines and have occasionally won prizes. His first collection, This Patter of Traces, was published by Oversteps Books in 2014. His website is at


3 thoughts on “Mark Totterdell – four poems

  1. Robert Nisbet December 12, 2016 / 9:22 am

    What fine, meatily-textured poems! ‘The Pig’s Head’ in particular.


  2. Jan Dean December 12, 2016 / 5:29 pm

    some lovely word collisions here – particularly enjoyed the rising waters of the levels


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