BernardYoung

By BernardYoung

Train Lines

A very cold start
but the snow failed to settle
and soon turned to rain.


I went into the kitchen
and added water to the kettle:
enough to make a mug of tea
and fill a hot water bottle.


All I felt like doing
was watching TV
but it’s a crime to watch television
during the day
so once I’d made my tea
I settled on the sofa
with the bottle at my back
and opened this book:


Train Songs: Poetry of the Railway
edited by Sean O’Brien and Don Paterson.


I decided not to travel the lines
from Start to Stop,
from A to B,
from Departure to Arrival
but to dip in and out of the journey:



The Train Will Come Tomorrow Year

With the dusk falling rapidly
The Metaphor Now Standing at Platform 8
is offering friendly sandwiches of speech.


Grass is growing through the disused lines
and the sandy pinetrees bend
under the dark green berries of the rain.


Someone asks if there is a buffet car on the train
and is told he must be joking.
A tunnel finds us looking out the window.


From here through tunnelled gloom
with the dusk falling rapidly
there is only us and everywhere and always.



Thanks to the following poets whose lines (in italics) I lifted:

Simon Armitage, Alan Brownjohn, Robert Crawford, Walter de la Mare, Norman Nicholson, Peter Porter, Charles Simic, Hugo Williams.


Train Song

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