Travelling Backwards - Poem by Brian Wake
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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