Illuminating York Poetry: Locomotion

Posted on 17 January 2013 | Poem

What roaring is this

in this darkness?

This evocation of half-lit,

half-forgotten stations,

of missed connections

and lost journeys?

Alas, it is not real.

None of these old locos

have fire in their belly.

All movement is illusion.

They are back-lit, front-lit,

carefully preserved.

But how they refuel

the thrill of the night train

roaring past – flashing -

(and flashed at

by these enthusiasts cameras),

they find their spark.

Yes, listen.  Tonight

the beasts are restless.

Their fire boxes fume,

they shunt memory,

pound between the lines,

the air thick with an oily smoke.

I would like to think

it is always like this,

when the doors are closed,

and the anorak crowds have gone,

that these cowed beasts

puff out their grandeur.
- Andrew Brown