a poem by Christine Anne Shaw, UK

It wasn't music I recall
that soothed my thoughts awaiting sleep,
at night I'd listen, counting trains.
No sheep for us near Stamford Brook,
though they appeared in books with rhyme.
I can't evoke a time when I
first saw one in a farmer's field
or felt my hands on grease wool coats.

Clickety clack, clickety clack,
past pictures flash inside my mind
of when in bed my tousled head
on pillows plump as billowed cloud.
The tubes brought comfort with their noise,
their rhythm rattled on steel tracks
and drapes that never kissed at night
allowed brief light to flood the space.

We'd hear the slow down and the screech,
the signal reds, applied before
the change to green allowed once more
a crawl into the platform's mouth.
Alas, the darkness soon returned,
unfriendly was sporadic gloom,
but not for long another came
to brighten up the shadowed room.

An older me would stand beside
my brother in the countryside,
upon a bridge that straddled lines,
where we would find in tattered logs
the times when whistles blew and steam
engulfed us both as engines old
flew past to leave us cloaked in smoke.
Stoked coal and soot filled memories.

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