61 – A Trip From Reading Station

Poem number 61
.
A Trip From Reading Station
.
We enter the glass fronted station expansion
No longer a cottage, it’s more like a mansion
With white marble pillars and wide open spaces
For people to mingle with closed wary faces.
.
We step to the ticket machine on the left
An off peak return leaves my wallet bereft
Then off up the stairs to the hall in the sky
Where floor to roof windows are thirty feet high
The view is astounding, though tainted today
By the dark tinted rainbursts that get in the way
So we head down once more to a platform to wait
For the train with a prayer that the damn thing’s not late.
.
It arrives in a thunder of brakes and hot steel
The doors clatter open, the scene is unreal
The whistles, the creaks, the shouts and the cries
Delight at reunions, the parting soaked eyes
We squeeze through the funnel of passenger flesh
Through the doors to a seat where the coffee stain’s fresh
The floor is quite littered with shredded old tickets
There’s gum on the armrest (where else would they stick it?)
.
We sigh with relief, set our minds to submit
For a while we’ll defer to the engineer’s grit
Let the driver and guard take the load from our shoulders
We’ll take out our briefings from brown cardboard folders
We’ll read and relax, let the rails take the strain
Rely on the tracks – it’s the age of the train.

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