Off the Rails

At midnight, the town
travels, swallowed as snake
joined, dot to dot
houses, breathing through
windows, illusion borne
currents, electric gold,
mirrored and flaming.

In my mind, I control
it, a plastic snake
snapping, each click
of each segment
a jut of its hipless,
wavering song.

Holding the train
between thumb
and forefinger,
I throw the trails
from all mapped out
journeys, lacing the paths
of luminous strangers,
chained like fairy lit pearls.

The span of my hand,
a flesh webbed cloud,
covers their eyes and
becomes their earth.
Until I let go and they
hurtle, back into
timetabled stops and changes.

K. S. Moore

(First published in ‘Ink, Sweat and Tears’.)

When I heard this year’s theme for Poetry Day Ireland would be Poetry Surprises, I thought of this poem. For me, a journey by train is the most relaxing of journeys and allows the passenger to see more than they would by any other method of travelling.  Roads, mountains, fields open up to reveal so many possibilities. Then there’s the other passengers and all the intrigue that comes from observing people.

‘Off the Rails’ was inspired by witnessing the outside scenery reflected in the windows of a train and I feel it contains two unexpected moments, or surprises.  There is the opening revelation of the town as passenger and the change of focus to the voice / character of the poem who takes control of the train and all its occupants.

The most surprising train journey I ever embarked upon, was one when I was a baby and my family bought tickets for a mystery train trip. We ended up in Southsea, where an aunt of mine was based, so I think we visited her for tea. I always thought a mystery trip sounded like a wonderful idea, but for some reason, I have never been on one since. Now could be the time.

Featured Image by michaelgreenhill on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

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