Virgin England

‘Get permission from the ticket office
to travel on this train’
sums up this queue-fat England
of intransigence and new rules

Here staff cannot show emotions
or make their own on-the-hoof decisions

The green biro’d ticket was waved on
an hour later by a shrugging millennial

Class resides on trains and in politics
those two parallel English antiquities
which feed off each other
and equally upset the low users of both

The woman serving in the galley
of processed food did so with a smile

That was my only uplifting Virgin moment
.

The Sign on Southern Railway

There’s a Samaritan’s helpline advertised on the platform
hanging from a lamp post on the sturdiest of wires

I think about the last hours of that American comedian
I picture him considering the place he will meet death

and try to uncoil his quick mind
as if such powers are really mine

It has to be such a certain thing because doubt won’t kill you

only the best of preparations
such as a strong hanging point
will see you through

Did he then worry about being found
or is that selfishness not allowed?

Is there a real risk of commuters throwing themselves under trains?

I step back from the edge as the train to London Bridge
slices through the taught cord which now gives

 

 

No Natural Death

“For a man who has done his natural duty, death is as natural as sleep.” Santayana

Here we meet again
you are no longer my friend
you the jolt   the itch   the portend

This disappointment
which sleep is for me
it is a lonely thing

It is as if rest
itself
is now my disease

as if my unwritten register
of simple expectations
no longer allows its admit

Yet I will drift in day time’s impolite light
with eyelids weighted just enough
to stop me seeing

This puzzle of so many pieces
that each night has become

This my lost friend is you
my agonist
again