British Rail

British Rail

They wail in waves. Metronomic.

The snare of drummed out working week.

The hi-hat jitter of FTSE soldiers marching.

As to war. Rhythmic. Arrythmic.

The heart that beats and skips

As if it were human. Keeping time.

And much else besides:

The shirts from our backs. The fat of the land.

A gravy train smear: this shit-brown

Archipelago of retail parks that once were towns.

The glass, these days, is cleaner, it's true.

The better to see the land slide past

Mold-green and unpleasant: these fields

Where they roam in packs. Mad-dog mad-stare

They drool and point, like the bodysnatched

Who smell among them a rat, then race to the cliffs

Where the wicker pyres burn high in 1970s colour.

We wail in the quiet zone.

Offers abound in the in-flight glossy.

"Customer satisfaction is our business."

"Don't forget your valuables."

But ours were forgot, junked years ago.

Remember the Clause IV moment when the rot set in?

Value today's to be found elsewhere

In this pendolino rush to a terminus of hope.

"The British rail," said the man with the newspaper stare.

"But at all the wrong things."

With that he drifted off and dreamt of scorched earth

And a wind that tore through the Alpujarras hills

As if with a purpose.



August 2013