Strange poem this…inspired from the time our garden backed onto a railway line. I don’t know why the subject matter had to be so harrowing (not my usual style)…a dying man’s attempt to speed up his demise. A poem of two halves rhythmically…the train’s approach and its enforced halt.
Nelson from Colne, Lancashire (photo by Steve Bradley)
THE END OF THE LINE
Bloody trains; never on time,
Not like the days of ‘blood and custard’.
Savouring scents of hot oil and steam.
Beeching the axeman; I was ‘Disgusted’
In letters of protest, letters of “Shame!”
Even Joe Musso; he ran them right;
Just like a swiss watch – moving precision,
Tick-bloody-tock, all day and night.
God damn these trains; trying a saint.
Saint Puffing Billy. Hah! That’s me.
“Give them up, Billy.” What is the point?
Too late now; like the 10.23.
God, it’s hot. And it hurts like hell.
Is this her now, a happy release?
Iron on iron. The banshee’s yell.
On a rusting line, iced from use,
Red mites polka; death’s dancing dots;
Chickweed samba a rhythmic plea.
Without invitation, rosebays waltz
Nearer and nearer my God to thee.
Spat blood spilt on chippings of cream,
Like a lonely rose on her lustrous skin;
That once I kissed and not in a dream
With only the hope that I see her again.
But the banshee screams and now she is gone;
And God, is it finished? From over the edge
Voices are blurring, then blaring; such pain
They think he’s all right but I’ll be the judge!
© gray lightfoot
Hear Gray read the poem…