A TRAIN PASSES

Posted by Admin on Wednesday, 9th April 2008, 00:00

Along the highroad, looking down
to darkness, where Medina ends,
I heard, sent from the glow-worm town,
from Shambler’s where the railway bends
without the town, a ferrous sound,
the working-song of flangéd wheels.
An evening train then Newport-bound
recalled my infantile thrills.
O sheer delight! O simple game!
To stand – I seldom used a seat –
and there recite each station’s name,
nor lessen zest with each repeat:
from Alverstone to Horringford,
from Blackwater to Shide;
or eastward on another line,
through Whippingham to Ryde.
The latter where I loved to take,
when there were sixpences to spend,
a “paddler” on the boating lake,
and churn its waters end to end.

The sound was lost far down the line,
and I was left with memories
of railway magic and the time
when tousled boys with grubby knees,
and girls, their bow-tied plaits a-tossing,
excited by its potent spell,
would scamper towards a level-crossing,
to climb and wave their “Hail-Farewell”.

Soon, soon, the rusty tracks will lie,
with sleepers that deserve the name,
engulfed in weeds – thus railways die:
which leaves the question: “Who’s to blame?”

T. C. Hudson
© T. C. Hudson.

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