Wish You Were Here

Since dawn we've all been passengers together,
cool intimates of sound and sight and scent
by chance enrolment on this expedition
across a huge and ill-mapped continent.

We've found at every halt the dialect strange,
the population different in physique,
while unremitting in its disposition
to misinterpret our attempts to speak.

But the engine has stood still all afternoon.
Picture me scribbling this communication
from the metropolis of Midlife-Crisis
in a refreshment room close to the station

before the long climb into the hills,
with their increasingly uncouth facilities,
inclement weather and indifferent service,
exacerbates our urban sensibilities.

No one is in a hurry to continue,
but soon the mutinous and the resigned
will take up their reserved accommodation
and see the lighted platform slide behind,

until their pale reflections in the windows
are all that's left to move the imagination
from rosary-clicks and mantras of great wheels
ticking off time towards its destination.


© Brian Fewster,
Published in Poetry Nottingham 51/4, Winter 1997

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