Monday, 8 March 2010

The Poetry Bus replacement train service

Today it's off the bus and onto the train with TFE's Monday Poetry Challenge.  Write anything you like, he said, but write about trains.  Now, I've spent a large potion of my life waiting for and sitting on trains, none of which will be evident from this poem.

Night Waiting

Passengers are advised
That the train approaching platform 2
Will not be stopping at this station.
Please keep away from the platform edge.

It is night.
It is raining.
And the Voice of the Station
Has just broken my heart.
I’ll never get there now.

Cradled in light
The lucky ones go flashing past.
For a split-second
I see their various faces,
Pensive, bored, self-absorbed.
Sleepy, happy, tired,
All Snow-White-and-seven-dwarved,
Cradled in warmth.
Cradled in hope.
I see them.
I envy them.
Oh, I want to be them,
Ticket-borne homewards.

Then the train whisks them away,
Shrieking and rattling
Into the night.
Leaving me alone on the platform,
Keeping all my
Personal longings with me
At all times.


  1. that's a really nice one, Argent! It just perfectly captures how I feel when some other train goes by, not even considering me. And those people on it - they never even realized they were passing a station, let along wished they could have shared their train. I bet you keep your personal longings with you at all times in the airport as well ;-)

  2. Pensive, bored, self-absorbed.
    Sleepy, happy, tired,
    All Snow-White-and-seven-dwarved,

    Brilliant lines - snow white and seven dwarved as a verb is feckin fantastic... like the keeping personal longings too - fantastic.

  3. Oh, loved it! Especially the
    "Keeping all my
    Personal longings with me
    At all times."

    It acutely reminded me of being trapped in Wales on a Sunday night, having tried to get from Chester to Bristol. Such vivid writing I was right there again.

  4. This is a really nice poem, Argent. I love the middle verse in particular - those seven dwarved lines really work. Perfectly paced and put together. (love the format of it too.)

  5. the snow white line!
    and again because i can...
    the snow white line!

  6. just loved the 'personal longings' bit, echoes back so beautifully to the announcers voice at the beginning.
    thanks for sharing
    crazy field mouse

  7. Yes, some lovely moments - the dwarves have it. I especially like the potion of your life in the intro...bewitching!

  8. I'll never get there now. It's heart-breaking. Very good.

  9. Oh lovely. Sometimes I leave my personal longings on the train

  10. I actually wrote this poem whilst taking part in a really boring conference call, listening to a man who is so dynamic I call him the human moggedon. Thanks to all who have commented.

    @NanU - Yes I do keep my personal longings with me at the airport :-)

    @Niamh B - The snow-white-and-seven-dwarfed line just popped into my head as I was writing the list of adjectives. Glad you liked it.

    @Titus - The 'keeping my personal longings' line had been rattling around in my head for a couple of days but the rest of the poem didn't arrive until I was actually writing it (if that makes any sense).

    @Pure Fiction - Thanks, the centred format was done because, not being a proper poet, I have no concept of internal rhyme schemes and proper structure, so the lines are all different lengths. Centring it made it look neater.

    @Swiss - Snow White seems popular, doesn't she?

    @Crazyfieldmouse - Thanks, hadn't thought of the end actually tying with the beginning. Truth is, where poetry is concerned, I don't think at all :-)

    @Rachel - Thanks. If I had a pound for every train I've ridden and another one for the ones I've missed....

    @Poetikat - There's nothing quite so depressing as having to get somewhere then finding that you can't get there and it's all beyond your control.

    @Emerging Writer - I think we should all leave our personal longings on the bus!

  11. Very nice. I too like Sleepy, happy, tired, / All Snow-White-and-seven-dwarved and the endlines - the despondency of that (un)ending - very evocative of that worn-down and weary aspect of dependecy on intermittent public transport schedules. Been there :-)

  12. I agree with Titus, how very apt!

  13. Lovely poem out of such a brief snapshot.Loved the
    'Pensive, bored, self-absorbed.
    Sleepy, happy, tired,
    All Snow-White-and-seven-dwarved,' Deadly and also the
    'Keeping all my
    Personal longings with me
    At all times.'
    Funny sad, neat and complete!

  14. The whole thing is good but I love, love, love that last line!

  15. "Cradled in hope" is exactly what I see when the others are sitting on the train/bus on which I long to be. Well, at least you have some company on this platform. ; )

  16. "all snow white and seven dwarfed"... fecking fantastic image!.. I love the way this looks like a computerised sound wave of a train sound on the page.. :-) marvellous stuff missis!


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