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Night Mail 98


(from "Night Mail" by W.H.Auden, 1936)

I
This is the night mail crossing the border
Badly delayed with the loos out of order

Coaches for the rich, calf trucks for the poor
Beaten up tables and fiddly end doors

Pulling up Beattock, a steady climb
The signal's against her, we'll be some time

Past cotton-grass and moorland border
Aircon's packed up, it's getting colder

Snorting noisily she passes
Motionless as silent grasses

Birds turn their heads as they approach us
Flying faster than our locomotive

Sheep dogs cannot turn her course
As we sit trapped among the gorse

In the farm she passes noone wakes
As finally she comes off the brakes

II
Dawn freshens, Her climb is done
Down towards Glasgow she descends
Towards the semis pouring down suburban hills
Towards the fields of concrete peaks, the tower blocks
Set on the dark plain like gigantic chessmen
All Scotland waits for her
In dark glens, beside pale green lochs
Men long for trains


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© A.Boodoo, 24-Mar-98