Back tracking

I'm coming back - in reverse too
my carriage seat confronts a fading track
the train counting off the in-betweens in railroad ties
whistle-stops and scheduled ones we meet in brief
here at Crewe is where everyone changes
(you never did though - never felt the need it seems)
and here's where the the journey cuts like a plough
past flat fields and the wet wilderness of silver birch
where soon the brambled embankment closes in
reflections gazing back implacably
remember how mesmerized you were with my eyes
flashes of sun cut glass in morse code moments of emotion
- which means we are almost there, there where you abide
filed between domesticity and phantasy philandering
the engine slowing at the station's approach- just momentarily
then branches onwards, side-lined to a different destination
this is how we've left it each and every time
me moving away, trailing memories

I was  determined to do nothing arboreal with Elizabeth’s prompt: branches And joining up with Grace and other poets for the unthemed Open Link Night

47 thoughts on “Back tracking

  1. ‘cuts like a plough’ – that’s true of your whole expression here, Laura. It feels real and raw. Railway networks cutting over the land. And then there’s Crewe – place of my birth, though never lived there. It had my tonsils and appendix but not my heart. Also spent much time passing through, and to Crewe Station as a child – so yes ‘the flat fields’.

    Glad to hear you had some good weather. We’re still waiting for ours. Not looking too hopeful.

    1. really appreciate your feedback Tish – I like real and raw – just how it should be! Crewe has quite a few pieces of you – Africa and Shropshire quite a change from this junction!
      p.s. went to Kew today and got a camera full of Spring sunshine

  2. This is beautifully deep and raw!💜 I love the image of “and the wet wilderness of silver birch.”💜

  3. Crewe sounds like a dangerous place. I have fond memories of railway cuttings, but disused ones, and innocent childhood memories are free of the darker emotions of adults.

    1. Crewe is just a major junction – the journey is a memory trip

  4. What a journey, how I love our railways and our times on them.The way a whole life can be shared in one journey in one carriage, what a sad wistful piece though, it sounds like they wanted to be the brief encounter at Carnforth but somehow they were on the wrong platform at the wrong time. Maybe next time. XXXX

    1. Fact, fiction and poetic licence – brief encounter touched many a nerve. Had forgotten the Carnforth connection – thank you for your observations Alison

  5. I love how you captured these journeys, seemingly coming together but going in different directions ~ This is my favorite part:

    remember how mesmerized you were with my eyes
    flashes of sun cut glass in morse code moments of emotion
    – which means we are almost there, there where you abide

    1. thank you Grace for hosting and for your observations – the way tracks merge and branch readily conjures ‘ships that pass in the night’!

  6. Ah, the days of riding the trains and all the adventure, intrigue… all that it entailed… you brought a lot of that back to life in this poem. Thank you!

    1. love train travel as you can tell here! though I miss the days of steam and I never did fulfill the fantasy rides of railcars across the States

      1. I have had the pleasure. Minneapolis to Washington D.C. and back. Minneapolis to Philadelphia and back. And Minneapolis to Seattle (the northern route) and back (a more southerly route). It was a nicer experience before AMTRAK. I would think the European trains are more enjoyable — but then, I’m a bit of romantic.

        1. a great journey even with AMTRAK, Charley – our trains are just bus stops on rail – Europe has the distances and I can hear that whistle blow –

          1. The trip from Minneapolis to Seattle, through the Rocky Mountains of Montana, included a long stop at White Fish. We could get off the train and see a bit of the town (read tavern) while they loaded fresh lake trout into the diner car for the evening’s offering. Beyond that — in both directions — the train traversed the beautiful upper Rockies under the cloak of darkness, leaving us to ponder the great wide open expanses of western Minnesota, North Dakota, and eastern Montana. Mind numbing at best. The intrigue happened within the confines of the train.

  7. kaykuala

    this is how we’ve left it each and every time
    me moving away, trailing memories

    If only a relationship could have been tapped to allow it to hit off! Nice take Laura!


  8. Love the intrinsic rhythmic music in this poem, the paradox of motion and freedom and speed, constrained by implacable iron. So cool.

    1. and I love your observation Lona especially asI had not really taken much notice of the rhythm – but I have read quite a lot of Larkin of late – though not his ‘Whitsun Weddings’

  9. I really like the placement of this line….”(you never did though – never felt the need it seems)” ….breaking up the imagery with a reflective thought.

    1. nicely observed Mish – it was an impromptu glimpse back into the inner world of the carriage/traveller

  10. Beautifully described interlude with imagined background sound of the train. It took me there!

  11. Oh, the steady rumbling of memories! This line speaks volumes…”where everyone changes (you never did though – never felt the need it seems).”

    1. Thank you Lynn – That one rolled off the page as it were – makes a change not to have to struggle for the words!

  12. I’m so glad I didn’t miss your poem. Turning the viewpoint to look back while moving forward provides such a wonderful context for the story and emotion. Beautifully realized.

    1. thank you for compact and nicely observed comments Jo-Ann and for not missing the train!

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