What did he think, that his hand-scrawled banner
would somehow stop contracts from being fulfilled,
the diggers in their tracks, that he could turn the
world with words, that nineteenth-century verse would
be enough? Once lines had been broken,
once injunctions had been imposed, he departed,
bereft, to be replaced by a tough tribe
of characters with bolts and chains, who braved
wet and cold in a last stand against the machine,
and of course they failed too, and so another
wildness was unwritten from the earth’s pages.
Mark Totterdell’s poems have appeared widely in magazines in the UK and have occasionally won competitions. His collections are This Patter of Traces (Oversteps Books, 2014) and Mapping (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2018).