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Mark Totterdell – Jersey Tiger Moth

It’s settled boldly on our white front door,
an emblem with the look of something rare;
soft arrowhead in simple origami,
printed with patterns not quite black and white,
but pale vanilla, bitter chocolate,
in glam rock zigzags, like a dazzle ship.
It flies, and its flashed underskirts are gaudy,
the perfect shade of tinned tomato soup.

Their home is Portugal, is Greece, is Russia.
There’s one famed island valley where they swarm.
It’s only natural for them to come
into this land of high unnatural pressure.
Their shtick is to bear whole wide bright worlds here,
enrich thin lives, exoticise plain air.

‘Jersey Tiger Moth’ by Mark Totterdell received a special mention in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly poetry competition (August 2019) judged by Roger Elkin.

Mark Totterdell


She’s the brooch that pins the sky’s blue cape together,
a kink-armed cross of tarnished silver.
Her calling rends the afternoon.

And now she’s an anchor, falling through fathoms of air,
faster than gravity, an angel breaking
the spine, piercing the heart of a dove.

Now she’s poised in her trefoil window,
an eclipse-eyed gargoyle with flesh caught
in the keen contraptions of her golden feet,

warrior queen of the parapet, armoured in keratin,
her chest barred tight, secure now in this chamber
of sticks and stinks and bones,

though the all-seeing lens in the corner
transmits each blink, every twitch, every stretch
to us, who watch the screens like powerless gods.

Peregrine by Mark Totterdell was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition March/April 2020 judged by Mandy Pannett. 


Judge’s Report & Results, SLQ Poetry Competition (March/April 2020)

Judge’s Report, Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (March/April 2020) By Mandy Pannett The twelve poems selected quickly made their presence felt. Unfortunately, so did quite a few others which caused me quite a lot of uncertainty and mind-changing. There were … Continue reading