All my life I have traveled on trains, yet for the first time in ten years I am on a longer trip. Heading North to stay with family. Many thoughts as I pass familiar names on the stations, as I wait for change-overs. Train travel is only good in my mind if you are not in a hurry. You need the time to appreciate the changing places as you pass.
This Is Carriage D
At the track-side of a town, the wheeled life of prams and trolleys comes to an end.
The exuberant spray of names shout for fame, not for them the high graffiti art,
more the scrabble of the voyeur, to be seen, passed and gone. All speed is relative,
inside and it is constant, outside, we speed and slow and jump from scene to scene.
There is no connection, at one time trains had windows you could open, for the wind,
the changing landscape, and the rush of speed. Now we are laminated in here,
a hand pressed against the glass, trains as modern life, isolating and cocooning,
even as we are brought together. Heading North, I see landmarks I have passed
many times before. Looking into back-gardens, wastelands and castle walls.
They are physical locators for the passage of travel and my life.
The smell and shabbiness of the stations is a close family.
Places I have waited while going to or from parts of myself.
They change, yet remain achingly familiar.
The red bricks to the grey plastic.
Travelling from now to the centre.
Not home, that has been many places.
Home is portable, it is the people,
the moments, this time I am
stretched from home,
pulled like an aching muscle.