In the crush hall we embrace. Between a brilliant
cutting in O-O [three tracks, 2 running trains –
a lengthy Goods and full length LMS Express,
11 coaches in correctly aged maroon!]
and a well stocked stall of boxed and pre-owned
Triangs, Hornbies, Backmans, we take our chance.
It’s a good show for layout lovers, which we are.
Not sure where it’s going – a main line terminus?
or maybe it’s a tunnel we are in? Twin tracks
curve to vanish beneath a castle on a hill
[hours in wire mesh, papier mache,
handcut walls, paint-matched, acrylic]
We’ll build our own together. We’ve walked
the dale where it all stood. I’ve made the plans,
Stacked crates of track, locos, trucks,
accessories. Track Double O P4
but narrow gauge – and featured, stone by stone,
in card, the line of cottages, now ruins,
stepped down the slope. No people now,
but windows, glazing emptiness within.
A gradient our locos will manage fine,
and frame-lit cameras will cover all the points.
Tools will grace the trackside. Ore will gather
to be loaded. Figures will stoop to tasks.
Sheep will safely graze. With training,
she will run the trains as well. Others build
amazing worlds where track would never run,
bring together treasuries of detail, with trawlers,
buses, whole harbours served by 0-4-0s,
Shunters, charabancs from Penge. We gaze
open-mouthed, will build our own as good. Will seal it
with another kiss in front of Pooley’s Trains.
I would not have thought it possible to write a poem about a romantic love and an enthusiasm about model railways – full of esoteric even arcane anorak detail – and not only avoid bathos but touch the heart! You’ve done it, John! And with some cracking lines: ‘No people now,/but windows, glazing emptiness within…Sheep will safely graze. With training,/she will run the trains as well’!
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“Love Among The Train Tracks”
Some great lines, John: ‘In the crush hall we embrace”, “a good show for layout lovers”, “with training /she will run the trains as well”, “curve to vanish..” and the haunting line, “windows glazing emptiness within”. It would be interesting to know who these others are building “amazing worlds”. Could there be a series of poems about such people and places? Best wishes for 2020.