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AND THEN WAS THE WINTER

And then was the Winter

asphalt buried for months on end

hope frozen into a rictus

of discontent

birds all black, a St.Vitus dance

in greying skies vainly searching,

sludge in the veins

trees by fossilized distance framed

swans skating

telegraph poles bending low

draping sinews in dislocating snow.

 

Here at Buckingham (British Railways)

a good train delayed ...

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railways

RAILWAY NOSTALGIA

it was that particular sound and sensation

a metronomic regularity of a train passing over

the rail joints

that bespake the rhythmic tale of the greed of speed

connecting the body to the soul

the soul of railway travel.

      If that had been all

      all that I remember

no steam tumbling

spent fluff of force in motion

no shriek of whistles

from mouths of monsters...

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railways

LONG DISTANCE EXPRESS

in its allotted platform the train sits,

waits.

 

I stare out through hermetic glass.

 

The preparations are completed.

The guard looks to the front

past the long flanks of the thoroughbred

      steps back, the age - old green flag

      simply waved, and the peremptory

whistle blown.

 

Imperceptibly the train breathes in and moves.

Like a babe in arms I am ...

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railways

RAMSBOTTOM BICKERDYKE AND Co

in the winter of 62/63

Ramsbottom Bickerdyke and co

went up to the icy wastes

upon Bleath Gill

like crows to the pecking

to set the locomotives free

 

from their cotton white beds

jammed right in

those belly fires burnt right out

all in a dream of compacted snow

Ramsbottom Bickerdyke and co.

 

Yorkshiremen under leathery sky

hacked away with blistering bre...

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railways

A RIDE ON THE FOOTPLATE OF LORD NELSON

Lord Nelson and me

on a summer's ride

in the crook of his arm

through the countryside

 

I stood while he huffed

and stood while he puffed

in his green shiny coat

he shovelled the miles

and hot he ran with his iron will

 

and we rode like the Lord

and we're riding still.

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railways

MEMORY OF HEAT

The railway carriage, a lurching labyrinth

of doors corridors people crabbed in passing

had stopped with its locomotive up front

fuming with rage

held back by down signal  on our cage

of viaduct leaning into a curve.

 

The day boiled, the rails hissed in waiting.

I looked at the street below active

and unaware of us.

Up close the racks and maps, smiling hills in paste...

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