Moon and Mustard

Blue Moon, I saw you standing alone,
Without a hope in your heart.
Without a love of your own.

A father singing. The train hushes the world.
His daughter, sitting on his knee, knows it’s for her.
She laughs, her apple face polished with happiness.
“Emma” she calls. Her word – holding child
and parent still while farms fidget past.

The mother, placed beside a son whose book
of puzzles, jokes and crosswords keeps him silently
himself, looks out at the ephemeralities. A blaze
of poster colour sweeps aside the green.
“Yellow” calls the little girl, exultantly,
and holds a hand to touch the glass that takes
this miracle along. “Mustard,” says her mother, and adds
another to the debt her daughter owes her in her heart.

No one thinks to tell her that it’s Rape. A bridge
goes past. The girl’s hand falls. The boy
fills in another word. The father sings Blue Moon.

British Rail, 1989