The former sewage settlement lagoons,
a wasteland wedged between the river’s curves
and an elbow of equivalent canal,
have been recolonised by sedges,
by bulrushes releasing feathered seeds,
by tall blond reeds in broad stands, rustling
with unseen life, suspicious scurryings.
From leafless trees, the great tits and song thrushes
are cleanly piping out, respectively,
their simple and their complex repetitions.
Close your eyes and you can almost see
the sounds as clear distinctive prints
cutting into the greyish sludge that spreads
everywhere from the traffic on the bridge.
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).