London Train, Quiet Coach


Oh-nine oh-five, platform two,

platform announcement.  Waiting on one

stuck in my chariot.  Everyone runs.

No shining armour, helper arrives.

‘Sorry to leave you.  That bloody freight train

came in on one. I’ll just get the ramp.’

‘Put in the bag first, save you some weight.’

Not that it matters; I am no Sylph.

Train moves off backwards.  My bloody luck!

Bright sun is beaming on places I’ve been.

Thank God I brought that Thermos of coffee,

me in coach A, refreshments in K.

Wondering, will he remember to set

his alarm?  He’s a night-owl, wasn’t asleep

more than four hours ago, according to Facebook.

Still, I have coffee, doughnuts and water,

two novels, two poetry journals, two pencils

a sharpener, an iPod, two pens and a notebook

but fear I’ll arrive and be stuck in the station

because I am helpless.  I look through my handbag

and there see my passport.  I brought it in case,

though I’m quite old enough to buy red wine without it.

I’ve not been to Greenwich.  It seems there’s a place

where they serve jellied eels, pie and mash drowned in liquor

then hot apple crumble with lashings of custard.

We’ll go there for lunch, then explore the environs.

It so lifts my spirits to be in the open!

Some dinner to follow.  A Mum likes to feed them

And he has no money for restaurant fodder.

Tonight I will struggle to sleep – part exhaustion,

part strangeness.  Hotel rooms are always too warm.

Tomorrow I’ll eat far too much for my breakfast

because I have paid and the diet can wait.

More nerves as I wonder if Pat will awaken

in time for his next treat, Observatory Royal.

No matter.  The highlight, the reason I travel

a show at the O in this life I live backwards

like some smitten girl as I scream with excitement

and sing all their songs with my favourite band.


First published in Star Tips for Writers





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