In Ridley Scott’s Bladerunner, the Nexus 6 replicant Roy Batty laments that his ‘retirement’ (in reality his death) will mean everything he has seen in his life will be as if it had never happened.
“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe…”, he says, “attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost…in time…like tears…in rain.”
That got me thinking…
A VIEW FROM A CAB (BUSRUNNER)
Scorched attack ships off Marazion?
I’m afraid that you’ve got me there mate;
But I’ve seen moonbeams glitter on dark
Solar panels near Butteriss Gate.
I’ve seen such red skies over Mounts Bay –
Whose crimson glory in the morning;
Would leave the most cautious of shepherds
To not give a toss for the warning.
I’ve seen people point with delight at
Their first sight of St Ives’ golden tiles.
I’ve heard the intake of breath they make
At the point they become Kernowphiles.
I’ve seen a castle-topped island soar
Like some kind of Swiftian notion.
Rising out from a circle of mist;
Set fair to fly over the ocean.
I’ve seen Sennen Cove’s resilience
In the face of one hundred foot waves;
The safe haven of its hardy homes
At those times when the sea misbehaves.
I’ve seen Mousehole’s granite in close up,
Glistening feldspar, mica and quartz;
While squeezing a bus just like toothpaste
Out into this prettiest of ports.
I’ve seen a view from Penryn bridge where
A widening Carrick Roads ensures
A pleasure boat-bobbing sea – (ooh!) blue –
With myriad sunlit Koh-i-Noors.
I’ve seen steam hauling trains over Hayle;
Such moments when nostalgia enchants.
Gazing breathless as steam kisses sky;
I’m a railway child still in short pants.
I’ve seen myself pilot a Spitfire,
With Penzance all laid out before me.
Buzzing down over Newlyn’s Chywoone Hill,
Having just returned from a foray.
I’ve seen (and winked) in Lamorna at
The old home of a Hollywood star.
Where would the pirate industry be
Without Bob Newton’s scurrilous “Arrrr!”?
I’ve seen dead people placed…pedestalled.
High fived Trevithick; waved at Davy.
Saluted the brave that served and died
In the Air Force, Army and Navy.
I’ve seen courage each time in passing
The lifeboat station’s flag at Penlee.
Those lost boys of the Solomon Browne
Who were braver than I’d ever be.
I’ve seen white horses charging the beach
Where Long Rock plays Cossack and Russian;
Witnessed their glory fade; watched as this
White brigade rides to its destruction.
I’ve seen signs and stones to make you smile –
Where a fingerpost points to Ding Dong!
Trewellard’s name that doesn’t quite fit
Or St Ives where the ‘S’s are wrong.
I’ve seen polytunnels that shimmer
And confound those assured of their sight.
Those sloping lakes seen from Trevenen
Are just quicksilver tricks of the light.
I’ve seen daffodils hosting game shows;
Clouds of golden gorse lining my way;
Crocosmia orange in splendour
And bluebell fields set for Flora Day.
I’ve seen the joy of being alive
In a bay foal’s exhilaration;
In dolphins dancing in Gwavas Lake
And in a starlings’ murmuration.
I’ve seen ghost owls haunting and hunting –
Stealth bomb studies in alabaster;
A serpentine mink prowl in the sun –
A shadow in search of its caster.
I’ve seen igloos, penguins, polar bears
And scenes from a Bethlehem stable
Fashioned from neon for Christmas time
On the dark green of Praze-an-Beeble.
I’ve seen a twinkling black tiara
Set with jewels of luminous hue.
Our land that’s beloved and displayed on
A cushion of the iciest blue.
I’ve seen engine houses all over,
Give the finger; a futile gesture.
As sunset alights upon Geevor
And a tin drum beats to lost venture.
I’ve seen riding out on the cliff tops
Ross Poldark searching out derring-do.
For a change, the people of Cornwall
Will gladly welcome the revenue.
I’ve seen in a winter-rimed mirror
The care-worn face, beset by the wind,
Of England’s most westerly driver
Writing rhyme on his own at Land’s End.
Unlike Roy Batty in Bladerunner
(Nexus 6 played by Rutger Hauer);
I’ve taken precautions for the day
When it’s me that runs out of power.
All those moments are not lost in time
Saved images that my brain compiles,
Are laid out for your perusal now
Replicate Roy! I backed up my files!
Bus Driver/Replicant – smell the oil!
Excuse me for not being subtle
It’s up to us to record the view
From Dennis Dart or off-world shuttle.
I’m blessed that I get to see Cornwall
From the lowest tide to Carn Brea’s top
But how much better my job would be
If I didn’t keep having to stop!
© gray lightfoot
Hear Gray read A View From A Cab (Busrunner) here…