Two poems by Mark Totterdell


Obeying its dynamics, one leaf falls,
more side-to-side than down, in front of me.

A memory; each leaf you catch, you earn
one day of good luck in the coming year.

Instinctively, my right hand snatches, misses,
my left hand snaps, grabs it the second go.

It’s like a paper heart, the palest yellow
except for constellations of black dots.

Some kind of mould? Pollution? I can’t say,
but slip it in my pocket anyway.
First Great Western

There are games you can play
when the night’s outside.
You can watch the window people,
then turn to match them to their solid selves
as they lurch along the aisle.
The likenesses are sometimes quite uncanny.

And if you didn’t know, you wouldn’t know
this half-a-minute pressure in your ears
marked the tunnel though the hill
that severs Somerset and Devon;
here and there, house and home, now and then.

And with no clues at all from all that dark,
it’s easy to pretend
that, instead of moving forwards,
you are really hurtling back.
Mark Totterdell’s poems have appeared in many magazines and have occasionally won competitions. His first collection, This Patter of Traces, was published by Oversteps Books in 2014.