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Mar 2014
Trains at the bottom of the garden
metal dragons breathing out smoke and steam
huffing and puffing, waiting for the signal
some compact with tanks affixed
others larger, more grand
pulling colour matched tenders
sometimes bearing shields and names
beginning with 'Duchess' or 'City'
mostly black, some rusty
deep reds or greens
with contrasting lines edged in gold

Once one came in matt pink
and I wondered why it didn't gleam
like the others, perhaps pink
was a colour not to be given
it's equal due with other
less feminine shades
it had to be denied vibrancy
yet I loved the pink one best
later I learned somehow
that the colour was that
of the primer used
to inhibit the rust
and my pink engine
was just an unfinished paint job
pressed into service
prematurely to give cover
for another that was broken

I wrote down the numbers regardless
it was a ritual that one performed
though I didn't understand why
yet it was exciting
to record a new one
that hadn't passed before

Behind the business end
came carriages laden heavy
with the visitors of summer
come to fill our beaches
and our town with their loudness
their raucous laughter
with strange accents
brummie, scouse, mancunian
faces pressed against glass
expectant, excited, impatient
almost there now
anxious that this last delay
pass quickly and the half mile
remaining be completed

We would lurk beneath the bridge
like adopted troll children
it was cool there in the summer heat
darting out from behind pillars
or in my case watchfully, cautiously
edging my way forward
to place pennies on the track
or sometimes nails
then to retrieve them
flattened, thinned, squashed
once the train had passed
sometimes we'd wait hours
or so it seemed
sometimes no train would come
and we would trail home
for tea and bath and bed
leaving our offerings
to the gods of the rail
for rediscovery and inspection
the following day.

Cynthia Pauline Jones 17/10/13
Thia Jones
Written by
Thia Jones  Ampthill, Bedfordshire
(Ampthill, Bedfordshire)   
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