Poem at the year’s end

December 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

On a Train Returning from the Imperial War Museum in Salford, Winter 2013

I’m travelling backwards,
the hills of the Peak passing down
into the afternoon.

The train is half empty.
A woman stops a phone-call
in mid-sentence, signal broken.

After a moment’s silence
she resumes communication
through her laptop,

the tapping like rain starting
on a roof. In my mind, men
up to their knees in mud

are holding a stretcher.
One is looking to camera.
What the hell can they do?

They’re stuck; hopeless.
The man they carry is almost
dropped into the sludge.

The woman’s phone goes:
she stops tapping, starts talking.
At Grindleford we rock and settle,

plunge into the tunnel.
I watch the framed day diminish,
wait for the voice to end.


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