At thirteen forty five our train begins to move, and, late
to board, what seats remain face not toward but from.
I shuffle off and fold my overcoat and sit, do battle
with a newspaper to find a decent page and settle down
Behind me, music hisses from a faulty earphone. A child
describes the passing fields; a city child surprised by space
and countryside, surprised by, look mum, cows and sheep.
Across the aisle a blue-haired lady with an open book
is fast asleep.
From where I sit, my awkward view is of the places
we have travelled through. What views await us are, as yet,
unknown, the present blurred, the past quite clear. I travel
backwards in a crowded train.
I sit with some who seem to travel backwards all their lives;
they sit asleep or read with children counting sheep and cows.
For them and me, perhaps, what was and what is now
are somehow all there is.
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Comments about this poem (Travelling Backwards by Brian Wake )
William Carlos Williams
(17 September 1883 – 4 March 1963)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 January 1887 – 20 January 1962)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
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