Mark Totterdell

Allotment Pheasant

Forager for winter greens,
cock of the plot, with a strut
and a swagger that say
he’s bang up to date with the rent.

Fool in a three-colour cap, performing
his knockabout greenhouse routine,
attempting a comedy exit –
thud, thud – through a hard clear pane.

Refugee from the killing fields
out of town, where the shot drops like rain,
where he’s classed by every paying gun
as fine fair game.

Warrior with no comrades,
in subtle armour wrought by no hands,
his precious breast guarded
by a thousand discs of bronze.



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).