Three Poems by Mark Totterdell

Wood Pigeon

We startled a just-fledged pigeon
so it took a wrong turning
in through the open kitchen door,

flapped across the room,
tried to escape through
a closed window,

panicked on the sill
and knocked off ornament
after fragile ornament.

We were picking pieces
of glass out of the rug
long after the pigeon

had found its way back
to where the air was fluid,
the sky properly unroofed.

Moor Grass

This air has lent
some of its blue haze
to the distant forest
of conifers.

their needled tang,
the dank
of their dark avenues.

Above, beyond,
the shock of moor grass,
the miles of it,
each dry blade bleached

of its green.
See the whole high moor
as wide and palely bright
as that fulfilling sky.


I rambled back
from ferny fen
with this thing stuck
fast to my skin.
I’d felt no prick
as it latched on,

a pinhead speck
that pierced my skin,
began to suck
the blood within
and bloated thick
on what was mine.

How to unlock
it from my skin?
The tweezer-trick
just squashed it thin
and pumped its sick-
ness in my vein.


Mark Totterdell’s poems have appeared widely in magazines and have occasionally won competitions. His collections are ‘This Patter of Traces’ (Oversteps Books, 2014) and ‘Mapping’ (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2018).

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