He had got on the train at New Street,
Found an empty carriage spare,
And settled down with the paper
With not one to disturb him there,
But the train pulled in at Sandwell
And the carriage door slid wide,
And in there walked a pair of heels
With a dimple and hips beside.
She sat on the seat across from him
And laid her bag on the seat,
Kicked her shoes on the floor, so he
Could see her pretty feet,
He tried to look at his paper but
The print got up and walked,
Up from her ankles to her calfs
And he found it hard to talk.
‘How do you do,’ was banal but
That’s all that came to mind,
She briefly looked from her knitting, and
He thought that her eyes were kind,
But never a word would pass those lips
She had the slightest pout,
And her needles clicked to the railway clack
As his mouth was drying out.
He’d bought some fruit in the Bullring
So he thought he’d have some there,
And at different times he offered her
An apple, peach or a pear,
But she shook her head so slightly and
Politely, in disdain,
As if the thought of a stranger’s fruit
From a man in a suit, might stain.
The train chuffed on through Wolverhampton
While he drank a Coke,
He knew that his time was limited
For she’d get off at Stoke,
He offered to put the window down
But she said it blew her hair,
Then he offered his name as Paul, but she
Was not inclined to share.
She crossed her legs and she hitched her skirt
Just slightly above her knees,
While his eyes looked up to the luggage rack,
Was this some sort of tease?
Her knitting needles were clicking away
Was she knitting some sort of sack?
It seemed like she was racing the train
Ahead of its clickety-clack.
The train went racing to Stafford,
In and out, but it passed so fast,
He said, ‘We’re almost at Stoke, that’s where
We’ll both get out, I guess?
There’s quite a nice little café
Down by the station in the square,
I’d like to buy you a coffee, if you want
I’ll shout you there.’
She stopped, and packed up her knitting
Tucked it carefully in her bag,
And said, ‘You must be Australian,
And coming here, so sad.
I’ve never been ‘shouted’ a drink before
But I think you’re rather nice,
I’ll let you know that you’re past first base
On your way to Paradise!’
David Lewis Paget