Tuesday, 29 November 2011

To the northern station

They come at me - and pass
like missed trains, failing
to stop on schedule, trailing
a line of lamp-lit heads.

Nothing is fixed -
or everything is -
and carriages rattle through,
each secure in its own place,
then off - beyond the horizon.

At a crossing
on the Shkodra road
(with mountains as horizon),
kids run up to the brink
of the train they've missed.
Kicking hard against shale
and cascaded shard,
they swing up to occupy
corridors that judder
at every joint in the rail.

Or maybe that's just how
I see it. At the fag-end
of a long haul, I'm only looking on
whatever might be expected.

The sun glints - of course -
and muezzins cry:
they're out of shot.
The train limps from sidings
back towards the capital.

In the aloof vacancy of a ticket hall,
I'm assuming something of moment
will occur. We've arrived!

Cars judder into parking spaces.
Puddles open. Nothing moves:
we step outside - and then
everything does.

Tom Phillips, November 2011

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