Statto of the Railway Lines

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Train spotters love trains, tracks, stations, sidings,

Steep cuttings, mortar, stony spaces.

Straining to observe the woosh and swoosh,

Chatter and clatter of carriage and truck

And engine names.


Buddleias spring from bridge and brick,

Colouring impossible places,

Stattoes of the railway network:

“The nine-forty to Liverpool is late,

Leaves on the line.”


And butterflies in liveried red

Burst myriad from blooms of white and purple,

Flitting updates down the lines,

Past platforms and points

To nectar buffets.


“Pass it on, pass it on.

Diversion at Darlington,

Maintenance at Manchester,

Signal Failure at Stoke.”


Express trains, freight trains, steam trains,

Electric and diesel.

Buddleias just love trains, tracks, stations, sidings,

The chatter and clatter of carriage and truck

And engine names.

◄ Insane Poppy

Yesterday ►


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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Sun 6th May 2012 15:44

Jane, this is a great poem, full of stirring technical jargon modified by the equally stirring beauty of adaptive nature, situations which meet us everywhere.

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winston plowes

Sun 29th Apr 2012 23:28

Well, I have a unique angle perhaps as a lepidopterist and past train spotter. What a great idea to try and combine the two! Stoney places? Win x

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Roy Chetham

Sun 29th Apr 2012 21:11

Yes, like it. As a railway enthusiast myself this captures some of the atmosphere and magic for me. Line 19; do you mean Stoke, no R ?

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Greg Freeman

Sun 29th Apr 2012 20:13

I couldn't resist this one, Jane. You're right, trainspotters are not just into trains, but stations, sidings, cuttings and stony spaces as well. And it's wonderful how plants like buddleia - and butterflies, of course - colonise such places. I particularly liked "And butterflies in liveried red / burst myriad" - livery being the term for the colours of engines and carriages, as any trainspotter kno.

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