Fred Beake: from POEMS 1997/98
THE OXFORD TRAIN
A world-tired, ill-dressed lot, except for that
rakish, elderly, bewhiskered welsh man
prevented from smoking by his well-meaning woman
when there entered an American
her grey trouser suit as carefully pressed
as the dark strands of her hair were aligned.
And her two children: a little chatterer of a boy
and his big-eyed sister
- very reluctant to sit anywhere close
and had her OWN ticket, and was at last sent
on an important mission to the buffet, but returned
empty handed with the hurry
that marks excessive zeal. Then sat in a silence
that was perhaps superior to what had passed before
till her brother exclaimed "The Police will come.
The train is going faster."
and their Mother explained "Trains
have a SPECIAL license. They 're ALLOWED".
As in a dream of a triumphal column
the silver pigeon
does not move from its dawn perch of aluminum
High above roofs from before the time
became a one-eyed tough on the god-line
and men were fewer on the English soil.
where our gardens were, wild flowers will cover it all.
Hodierna (call her Christmas-Day-EE!) daughter of the Priest of Bardsey
Has gone to pick red apples by the bright-eyed Beck.
Sir Simon, son of Sir Simon (someone after him!) follows after her.
There will be much blood or little in the green meadows today!
But the glossy black starlings and flittering swallows
Just ignore the humans, who will never fly.
has passed over
the sand has a
and is not disposed
to blow away
upon the wind
Just a gaggle of schoolgirls in short grey skirts bearing flowers
But they were like soldiers who will outlast a defeat
And I remember them more than the rest of that great dusk tide
That washed a fantasy of flowers against a palace
And did it for a dead princess and twenty empty years
The stone of the house
is reconstituted and cream
and the door is open
and a man
with a belly
like a pregnant woman
sweeps down the stairs
and beyond my eyes
and two boys come out
kingdom of children
and a white butterfly
goes up and down