From a Train
In rain-soaked midsummer
the train squeezes, slug-like,
past blank back walls,
between cuttings' wild overspill
of green bramble,
cow-parsley and white elder-flower.
Bindweed tangles in hollows
and young fern upsprings
miniature forest below
towers of windblown sycamore.
We slide between factories;
broken windows blind with cardboard,
railing gaps stopped with old doors
or corrugated sheets, rusting.
Here is the unavoidable obverse
of the smart frontage;Company flag,
neat line-up of Jags and Rovers,
for the right people.
Between back wall and fence,
there's a foot or two of land
where weed sprawls over halfbricks,
sodden hardboard, window frames
and joints of scaffolding. At the front
picture smooth lawn,shrubs and flower-beds,
carefully tended by a gardener
who doubles, smartly-uniformed,
as chauffeur to important foreign buyers.
But here's no gardener, even the key
to that door, hidden behind stacked,
rain-dark pallets,is probably lost.
No one wants to know, yet from each train,
some passenger yawns out, discovers
that buildings, like people,
must have their backsides to somebody.
Copyright © Bernard Gilhooly - All Rights Reserved