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 and overdue,

its distant beak a confusion of steam

fretted in the aching snow

Perilous cold leaching the ground

and then the distant signal rose

a plume of white refreshed the sky

exploding from the chimney and cocks

A departure from Banbury a dream away.


Now,with dead weight on the move

grudgingly it shouldered forward its heap of spoil

scalding the platform near where I stood

bound for Bletchley and Verney Junction

in the Winter of sixty two and three.






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Wed 4th Jan 2017 19:53

Thanks Paul for the nice compliment; this is a favourite subject for me , but the knack is to try and relive it while describing it all that time ago. I was commuting to Waterloo every day then and no trains got cancelled as I recall !

Cheers Cynthia. Glad you got this and I appreciate your interest in what is traditional male fare! A play on Shakespeare with the title thanks.

A nice tribute Mark to the time thanks for that. Imagine if this weather had coincided with the Beeching closures so shortly after.

Glad to see you back Stu. As you say some new blood coming in - i'm sure i'll be carried off screaming one of these days. Atmospherical sounds vaguely celestial! Hope to see some new stuff from you...

Thank you one and all!!

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Stu Buck

Wed 4th Jan 2017 18:00

brilliant this ray. great wordery (thatll be in the dictionary next year) and as has been mentioned, wonderfully evocative and atmospherical (that too). great to be back reading such crackers after a short break. i see a lot of new faces but its reassuring that the old ones are still pumping out quality writing.

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M.C. Newberry

Wed 4th Jan 2017 17:15

A picture of a harsh winter readily recalled. I was firmly into my teens.
The steam train fits perfectly in this scenario, a rare
triumph preceding latter-day excuses of "leaves on the line"
and suchlike. My parents lived on the Wilts/Berks border -
in "the sticks" as it was known - and our local road was
blocked by snow, preventing the twice weekly bus service
from operating for days on end.
To borrow from Alan Jay Lerner:
Ah yes, I remember it well.

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Wed 4th Jan 2017 11:39

Very atmospheric, evoking trains and harsh winters worldwide in the steam age. Much enjoyed.

Excellent title.

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Paul Waring

Wed 4th Jan 2017 10:58

Ray, another crafted piece, skilfully describing the valiant locomotive's journey on one of those harsh winter days of 1962/3. Sadly, I do recall the bitter cold and snow (aged 5) and, coincidentally, my family were living near to Buckingham. Thanks for sharing this which, for me, showcases your original poet's mind. Paul

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