Silence reigns on the platform
As, alone in puddles of sickly yellow light,
Away from the encroaching shadows,
Four stand and wait in silence.
They hold their silence, not due to fright,
But simply to blend with the quiet shadows of the night.
Boarding the train, each through a separate door,
Into the bright white of the empty train,
They sit alone, unspeaking
As the train hurtles through the dark.
Though dark outside, inside the light can reign,
Banishing shadows, the deep night’s greatest bane.
Now the train’s in a city, rocking side to side,
Lights outside flashing by.
Moments of yellow, white then red,
And overhead a blinking plane takes the sky.
On the train only the roaring of the wind outside is heard,
None dare to break the solitude,
And then a platform – the train stops again –
Still for a moment, then the journey is resumed.
Slouched in a hoodie the boy sleeps,
His bag nearby on the seat.
Hanging open, it reveals its secrets –
Cheap tobacco, old magazines and dirty clothes.
Where else but the night train would two such strangers meet? –
Though here on the night train all such meetings must be fleet.
The train jolts, he wakes, plugs music into his ears,
Ignores the dark and danger.
No cares, no hopes, no foolish fears,
In his purple hood hiding his face,
Speeding onto a different place.
A voice speaks out – the next stop is nigh,
And he rises from his reclining pose,
Staggering on the lurching floor,
Grabbing his bag and staggering again.
The door opens and he goes,
The first of four – but where, who knows?
Prim and proper, sitting up tall,
The well-dressed woman holds her handbag tight.
Nervous eyes dart from side to side,
Afraid, she sits alone, jumping at each sight.
Why is she afraid when she travels in the night?
Why is this well-dressed woman here when too weary to fight?
Glancing at her ‘phone and watch she flies on through the dark,
Magnesium white light not hiding dark shadows beneath her eyes.
Tense as the string of a bow about to fire,
She prepares to leave as every minute passes by.
Finally the train stops, she rises second of four,
Marching down the platform into blackness.
Long coat flowing behind her,
Hands deep in pockets,
Where does she go with such fear to confess?
Why does she advance there in her mysterious and elegant dress?
Two people sit on the night train,
One the grey-coated man,
Black jumper under his coat,
And a laptop in his hand.
The last but for the writer, will grey-coat speak if he can?
Both of us remain silent – speak and we’ll be damned.
Grey-coat types swiftly,
Then puts his laptop down.
The train pulls in at the station,
And grey-coat leaves the light.
As he passes, there’s a moment’s frown,
But nothing more, and he vanishes into the town.
No-one’s in the carriage,
The black shadows reach long fingers to snatch me from inside,
A lone poet in a speeding iron cage,
Alone in a white temple in the night.
Transcribing fleeing memories before the doors open wide,
And I step into the nights dark jaws, with power undenied.
Join me on the night train,
Speeding through the dark –
Sit beside me reader as it flies.
Join me beyond the shadows in silence,
Where no birds sing, or dread dogs bark,
Until the night train stops, and as strangers we will part.
Join me on the night train,
Speeding through the dark.
Sit and be alone a while with me,
Before we strangers part.
This is simply for those of you who want to read Night Train from start to finish without the hassle of clicking to every part. I’ve enjoyed doing it, and regular posts will resume on Monday. I’ll see you then.
The Hapless Neo-Romantic