Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Blistering north wind scours:
Under the thick coating of black dust
Red of the stoker's nose turns purple
As load after load is shovelled
Into the engine hungry for fire.
Full, the steam train is ready to break free.
Kicking, it gathers itself and them
Away from guilt and torturous goodbyes;
The steed of steel is out of view;
Towards Dover it snorts full
Of Young hearts bent on death or glory
The platform once grey with waving arms
Is empty now, and silent... except for
Echoes of howling entreaties
Forever trapped in brick and track.
Blistering north wind rampages
And a flag of white dislodges.
It flutters for a while on a peeling blade of cold,
Then settles close by to a soldier's cap,
Worsted, and abandoned in the frenzy.
'Come back to me...,' the white flag reads,
'My heart stands still till you return.'
Did anyone read that note?
Perhaps the station's mouse, as he shreds it to nest
In the hollow of that cap.
Blistering north wind ravages;
Reddening young girls' legs to purple;
Squeezed into teetering heels, wearing black on black:
A last shivering show of respect to a good and honest man.
Inside Born Free plays, but are we?
Only truly hearing those words now,
Panic freezes the innards of each bowed head
And, for a split second stubborn blood refuses to flow.
'See you soon on the other side', floats across the open grave,
Flippant, but true from a workmate with calloused hands
And the map of his life, etched into red-veined cheeks;
Railway blackheads nailed into the folds of his neck.
Parting, such sweet sorrow....perhaps....?
But the blistering north wind ravishes!
Maureen Walsh - June 2014
Ciao for now!