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Saturday, 26 May 2012

If We Could but Get Back to the Platform

We are on a train,
                                      you and I
                                      and the people we know,
rushing towards a tunnel.

But we do not sit like good little passengers
                                      staring remotely past one another
                                      at the glories of Brighton Pavilion,
                                      Lake Windermere, Kew Gardens
                                      or The Yorkshire Moors framed
                                      beneath the luggage rack.

Not on your life! Our heads are far out of the open windows
                                      feeling the blast of cold air
                                      the adrenalin stream,
looking ahead to the tunnel rushing to meet us,
waiting for death, but not believing it will come.

They have posted a warning above each window
stating in simple English, clearly, the dangers that lurk.
But no, the adrenalin now is a flood, and we
                                      may be beyond the point of no return.
                                      what we feel is more real
                                      than what we are told
                                      what we know.

Look ahead - the tunnel still unmistakably there
                                      look sideways
                                      and all is a blur:
                                      a world that is flying
                                      and out of our control.
Do we hope that the slipstream will blow us apart?
                                      free us from ourselves,
                                      that ghost-like
                                      we'll take the walls in our stride,
                                      through the concrete without breaking sweat?

Because everything for so long has been smoke and mirrors
and solid things we have seen melt away,
can we believe that
                                      the next catastrophe
                                      will be of no more
                                      substance than what has gone before?


David F. Barker said...

Dave, I don't know how (or if?) I have missed your posts over the past few months, but this poem is brilliant, I have to say. I love the train imagery and the feeling that we are not in control, the nice touches of of the sideways blur as opposed to the clear sight ahead, and the feeling that the world is about to melt, collapse, change irrevocably (maybe it is).
Stunningly good, unsettling yes, but this works so well for me.

David F. Barker

Anonymous said...

Hi David - agree with other David - wonderful poem - although I have to say that catastrophes tend to generally feel more real to me than the rest of that--I think! Of course, there's a sense of time just sliding along no matter what, and that's an unreal base to everything else.

Your placement of the lines very effective here. k.

The Elephant's Child said...

The invincibility of youth. My parents lied about a few things - I will not suffer agonising cramps and drown if I swim after lunch, if I have my elbow out the car window my arm will not be amputated by a car going the opposite way (or not often anyway) so it seems quite reasonable to assume that they were all lies....
I loved this - thank you.

Mary said...

Just saw on the news this morning a new tape made by Al Queda, that they are apparently giving up on the underwear bomb but are working toward cyber terrorism. Examples given, but I won't get into them. Indeed there has been a lot of smoke and mirrors, and we are all on the same train. I do worry about the London Olympics, as I worry every time the Olympics are held.

Tabor said...

At the end of the day I am sure my husband feels that way. He stares out at the blur all day, but at the beginning of night fall he sees the tunnel.

Brian Miller said...

i hear you the smoke and mirrors...i find it interesting though that the catastrophes always seem to bring us closer together than driving us apart you know...the next catastrophe is coming though...

Aristoph said...

A bloody genius way of interpreting pain between two parties. I tip my hat to you my good sir; you've done your job again!

My new favourite.

hedgewitch said...

This one has an ever mounting momentum, riddled with great lines--I especially liked thses, David:
"..what we feel is more real/ than what we are told/than what we know..."

And that leads to a lot of (if you'll pardon my inadvertent punning) tunnel vision and collisions with disaster.

Crafty Green Poet said...

so true and i like the fact that this works just as well in the literal sense as in the metaphoric

Jackie Jordan said...

Excellent poem and a wonderful read. I tend to read this as metaphorical, but it works on a literal level as well. There are so many catastropies in life, and how we deal with them is called living.

Carl said...

Brilliant one Dave. I know this feeling all too well.

Windsmoke. said...

I reckon we are all on a runaway train heading for the next catastrophe its only a matter of when :-).

sunny said...

Hi Mr Dave,another brillliant concept from your side,like it.

haricot said...

Hi, Dave. I can feel the speed of train and the clear thoughts against the blur reality. I exactlly remember the old scenes in a train in my past.(Thank you for your kind responce inspite of my poor English.

Dave King said...

Hi and a warm welcome. It is good to have your company. Your comments, too, are much appreciated. Thank yo so much for your very kind words.

I do agree about the reality of catastrophes, but wasn't saying they had no substance, merely asking the question: can we believe they have no... etc.

Thanks especially for your comment on the line placement. That is particularly useful.

The Elephant's Child
Thanks greatly for this - of course, yor parents were telling the truth: your elbow would not be amputated very often! Enjoyed your comment.

Yes, there's been this rumour - if that's what it is - for some time about the move to cyber terrorism - and from their perspective it makes sense. They can do more damage, more easily , at less risk to themselves.

Man after my own heart! This has cheered me no end.

Yes, it is rather strange when you think about it. Something we normally take for granted, I guess.

Very kind indeed. Thank you so much and welcome. So good to have you visiting. (The encouragement also goes down well!)

Thank you so much, such a useful and interesting comment. And tunnel vision - pardon it? I love it! Thanks again.

Crafty Green Poet
Useful observation. Thanks for it.

Good to have you aboard. Thank you for your visit and your comment. Excellent final point you make - wish I'd thought of it for the poem!

Thanks a lot for this.

Cheerful... but I wouldn't say you're wrong!

Thank you. Much appreciated.

Just the sort of comment one likes to read, in fact. Your English has never been a hindrance for me.
On the contrary: I congratulate you on it.

Jenny Woolf said...

Wow, spine chilling and very powerful! this will haunt me.

I always had a weird compulsion to stick my head out of the window when I ever read that notice. As perhaps many of us did.