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On the northern line last night

    I chanced upon the strangest sight

as I took my usual seat

    in the clammy noisy heat.

A man sat opposite a little along

    just staring at an absent throng

for the carriage was empty apart from myself

    and he was perfectly still.


His coat was heavy and dark as night

    with his feet together as if held tight,

and as we drew up to Mornington Crescent

    I broke a silence so strangely unpleasant,

remarked how dimly the carriage was lit

    but he simply stared on as if in a fit,

and there on his face I noticed a mark

    and he was unnaturally still.


A small red stain quite round I saw

    the edges just a little raw,

and as the carriage gathered pace

    my troubled heart began to race

so unsettling was the sight

    in the recesses of the night

the tunnel like the road to hell

    and he was very still.


Then as the train went round a bend

    he simply seemed to calmly blend

into the background of the seat

    the pattern merging in the heat.

I  stiffly sat within the tomb

    or so it felt within the gloom,

my brain rejecting the apparition

    of the passenger on a ghastly mission.


Then unannounced, his head began

    to slowly turn, my eyes to scan

and then that stain began to spread -

    I sensed the presence of the dead.

As the train began to slow

    and Camden Town began to show

I forced myself to slowly rise

    and his face was desperately still.


On the platform's endless yaw

    I stayed quite still right to the core

and watched that seat that hurtled past -

    saw the gap freed up at last

that carried my memory like a sign

    that endless night on the northern line.








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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Mon 2nd Nov 2015 13:05

Enjoyed this.

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Mon 2nd Nov 2015 12:51

Thanks all for your appreciation. I can't comment individually, though I would like to. Don't know why I chose that line, I hardly used it myself, but as the terrain gets higher it obviously goes deeper, and therefore more mysterious! The idea of being trapped I think makes it work and the mayhem of noise echoing . Patricio and Stu, you have the benefit of being involved close - up, so that makes it especially piquant. Cheers all, and a happy post- Halloween!

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Anna Ghislena

Mon 2nd Nov 2015 09:49

Oh! You saw him too?! ;)

Great poem Ray. I love a good yarn.


<Deleted User> (8659)

Mon 2nd Nov 2015 08:57

Brilliant story telling Ray-love it!

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Patricio LG

Mon 2nd Nov 2015 05:15

I used to run Mornington Crescent station as a young station foreman, eerie tail yet somehow seems surreal and a very good Halloween story ray.

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Stu Buck

Sun 1st Nov 2015 20:43

i used to ride the northern line right through to high barnet from bank. it was terrifying at night. this is brilliant, really gothic and tense and beautifully constructed.

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Harry O'Neill

Sun 1st Nov 2015 18:17

A good - and timely -one

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Greg Freeman

Sun 1st Nov 2015 16:54

I love ghost stories, Ray. And a ghost poem - there aren't too many of those. Wonderfully atmospheric, and great control of rhythm and tension throughout. I echo Graham's final comment.

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Graham Sherwood

Sun 1st Nov 2015 16:31

Really quite brilliant Ray. Believable too on the Northern Line. Bloody well written!


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