VERY SPECIAL TO THE LITERARY EXPRESS
Winter Express at Dawn
We’ve been swallowed up and now gaze
from within the beast halfway along
a glowing spine in a demon’s body
whose brutal bellow leaps ahead of us
between banks of snow as its head beam
sweeps across hill crests like a huge firefly
until the express slows between sepulchres
of factories and tenements
lit with votive lamps for those about
to resurrect into a red dawn
where magenta, vermilion, orange
become briefly flames, ember spark,
less a rebirth more an intention,
a thought about rebirth, a thought
about a thought, daybreak, distance.
We all disappear into a marble crowd.
It’s a pity it has to be strait-laced.
Once our characters were declared out loud.
Now with a chisel symbols are traced
which give little or no clue to character
except to claim that our absence is a cause for grief,
that the life eternal is the victor
though elsewhere if that is your belief.
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The express draws alongside the broken panes
of windows in brick weathered to a dark tan
like roadworkers’ necks, walls of a derelict
factory beside ripening wheat specked
with poppies so red they could indicate
headlong flight from legendary defeat,
the hero sprinkling the grain with his heart’s blood.
More soberly the train moves off with squeals and thuds
away from human desolation and a crop that grows
as planned to where more poppies shimmer in fallow
unkempt space beyond which a church steeple
wavers above a line of dense green poplars
like the sail of a yacht observed edge on
as it tacks to the skyline of a calm ocean.
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Categories: Express Specials