Quick Sample

One afternoon of heat the express-train                             

To stand on the railway bridge – that was the dare
When we were children, while the last steam trains
Thundered beneath us, blotting out our world
With acrid gritty grey, and tarry slats
Tingled underfoot. When we came down
Pleased with our childish valour, earth and sky
Unclouding seemed the sweeter: I rejoiced
At sunlight on my face, the song of birds.

Now when I read your poem this comes back
But what I see is not myself but you,
The watchful traveller, nerving yourself
Soon to a more dreadful dare, but then
Getting it down at last, before your world
Was blotted out forever: haycocks, clouds,
While round you, near and far, and farther yet
Than you could ever know, the song went on.

 

2 thoughts on “Quick Sample

  1. Hello!
    Very clever-like it a lot.
    Came here after looking for Rising Damp by UA Fanthorpe after reading about the Ramblers call for signposted walks along London’s lost rivers.
    Now will go and find Adlestrop

    • Thank you. Adlestrop the place is still there, a pleasant little village, but the station closed long ago, courtesy of Dr Beeching, though it was still open when I went through it on a cycling tour in 1961 one hot afternoon, a distillation of sleepy Middle England not at that point much changed from Thomas’s time.

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