Poem: London Train

London Train

Written May 2, 2017

I’m at Piccadilly Station in London.
I feel very inexperienced at this.
At first, I think it will be just like
when I am getting off the train
in Manchester for work.
A state of not really thinking,
walking straight past the blue
departure information boards
t
o the Manchester rain.

But I forget all my train station skills.
Like knowing what platform to find.
How to buy a ticket or use the pass I already have.
People are going faster than Manchester speed,
It’s like they are all professional train takers.

I’m not on my own. I’m with other people.
They are more advanced than me though.
They’ve already bought their passes
and wait for me a few yards away.
I panic and somehow buy two train passes
when I only want one for myself.
I watch the woman slide them
under the glass into the metal trough.
I know that I am only one person so I
don’t know how this has happened.
I can’t make sense of the passes,
besides the fact that there is one too many.

We get on a train to go out to Canary Wharf.
Most of the train ride is underground.
Under the city. Under the history,
But the history is everywhere.
There is just black outside the windows
as it travels, turning down one
set of tracks, another junction. The train
knowing where to go without hardly thinking.
Then by Canary Wharf I am standing above
ground and there is sunshine,
and I am parting with my friends until the next day.
I am in London for the first time.

Inside my hotel I put down my bag,
sit on my bed and look out at the tall towers.
I see the Thames but only in parts of a jigsaw
around all these buildings.
I think of the momentum walking
outside Manchester Piccadilly one day a month ago.
Someone asked me for directions back then
and I knew what to tell them.

 

by Wendy Stewart

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