Express Specials

Winter Express, Headstones, and Poppies


Winter Express at Dawn

Weโ€™ve been swallowed up and now gaze
from within the beast halfway along
a glowing spine in a demonโ€™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.

Image by RitaE from Pixabay


We all disappear into a marble crowd.
Itโ€™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 roadworkersโ€™ 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 heartโ€™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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