Six thin feet pacing
to the slow click
of an antique clock.
It’s so late,
here in this dim cellar,
or old churchyard,
or under these
The sharp end of its body,
the dull black of its back,
as if it’s dressed
for dark formality;
the whiff of it, as if
it’s past its point of no return;
its stiff-legged course
towards the furthest corner.
Blaps mucronata. Blaps mucronata.
mu cro na ta…
above the clifftop,
trailing bent threads,
between grey tors,
in airman’s goggles,
a tipsy stagger
over the plain,
a soft bobbin
through high fells,
across the firth
on kirk-window wings,
patches of brightness embossed on the dark.
Dark Green –
dew still on undergrowth when the sun’s high.
High Brown –
burgundy edgings to half-moons of silver.
underwing abstract of mother-of-pearl.
Its lower flanks are pale, matt metal-grey,
with just a hint of porthole in black dots.
Above, you have to love the subtle way
grey stipples into black; those blood-red spots.
Then, to complete its bold, wild colour scheme,
the dorsal stripe’s what you could call rich cream
or palest yellow. Though, like me and you,
beneath the skin it’s all just guts and goo.
Copyright © Mark Totterdell 2018
Mark Totterdell’s poems have appeared in journals including The Curly Mind, Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Rialto and Stand. His collection This Patter of Traces was published by Oversteps Books in 2014. A second collection is due from Indigo Dreams in 2018. His work appeared previously in Molly Bloom 12.