Shadowtrain

Peter Hughes
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Carriage 42
Carriage 41
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Carriage 17
Carriage 16
Carriage 15
Earlier carriages


From Behoven

1

 

         then we lost interest

      in such impossible pasts

    & lifted our heads towards

            the river elsewhere

        a new jetty stands beside

              the old beyond repair

                      time mended the boat

                   that slips its moorings

       & swings out into the current

       the kneeling figure works on

               pausing only to reach

                  for three more nails

                  & position them gently

             between her lips



2

         hello  

    cuckoo   drunk   I

     come through hedges

        sideways in September twigs

               flick back & whip you

        in a list of

reasons to be cheerful

                      with asterisks



3

            
             screw up page & wipe stars

          appear & tighten

          screws on loft-ladder

            tip-toe between Bo

             Diddley & a Renoir lavender

                ribbons in a mass of red

                              hair run for the bus

                 bed pushed to the window

              head protrudes into the sky

                         a cantilevered plank

                   relieves  neck muscles

        vans bring morning in the rain

        however many nights the head

        stays out  the rent remains

         the same fuel bills rise & turn red

      skip to the loo

                & sing a ring

                   of shaving cream

                           & rust             no credit



4

         when the aerial stops oscillating

      hear clearly

        & sweep up broken plates

             hail Maria       ave Harold

 another raindrop starts trickling

    down the pane then sets off

     sideways at extraordinary speed

                     to reach the frame

              & kick back up into the sky

                    wolf cubs skip into a gale warning

                         we trundle diagonally downhill

                                     on an asymmetric sledge

                  towards the least attractive stretch

               of tree-line             a cough & a jump

             each path leads down as well as up

                but there’s only one way to go 

                               if you want bread      

                       oh   & bring it back



9

                       bring bonny back

                           to the dockside

                             freed by waiting

                          for a morning

                    of details

            tight trainers

     coffee containing pale grit

    a three-legged dog loping

     past smiling into the wind

       & the Copenhagen boat

                   was tending left

                         but several hands

               pushed it north-east to

                      more frosty stacks

                      of Baltic timber

  & potential passengers

  with indecision & fists

       stuffed in mufflers

                there is comfort in the story

                               sung without words

                           a sunlit liquid shiver

                     again we turned & tried

               remembering things

       we’d never known



10

  swept down natural steps

  to the pool at the bottom

  of the mountain

    water & other phenomena

        restlessly quest after

           lunch & in June

                           there was a lull

    where sweet English waters

           rose through chalk beds

              to dance through dips

        & cushions in the surface

            of the pool in dappled

                       alder shade

         this freshwater spring

             & water boatmen

                        the scrumping went

                              according to plan

                         brassicas netted

     there’s nowhere to roost

      if you’re a cabbage

                 white butterfly


Copyright © Peter Hughes, 2009