In a pub that overlooked saltwater,
I ate a heap of mussels,
so sweet, so soft, I never tasted better,
well worth the mess and hassle.
On the beach at Sidmouth, one damp summer,
I chewed into a whelk,
a plug of solid snot or slimy rubber
not fit for decent folk.
In a big marquee one time, in public,
I went down on an oyster.
The sea was rising, falling in my gullet
for what seemed ever after.
By the Med, with chips, I chomped on suckers
of deep-fried octopus.
I fear my smart and subtle distant cousin
was hardly well-served thus.
‘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; http://www.indigodreams.co.uk/mark-totterdell/4594336680).’