Fair Waverley, nestled in the ‘Burgh,
‘Neath castles and bridges,
A hidden gateway to the carnival above.
Fair Waverley sends us trickling, then trundling, then hurtling
Into the views of cliffs and forests of fir
And past rivers and seas quietly rippling.
Stirrings of magic here,
In the age-old glacially sculpted hills.
Wisps in the trees?
Endless childhoods of boundless imagination,
Flit past the eye as the train gathers speed
And a stirring brews with this quickening -
The heart rushing to keep pace.
Then, ‘cross the Tweed,
Into the elegant North,
The proud North,
The grand North:
Forged by its sons and its daughters
Into a breathing Turner,
A multi-dimensional Constable,
Replete with castles and cathedrals of stone and steel.
Teeming Newcastle gives way to stately Durham,
And vistas tumble forth like dreams
As the Lark ascends.
Towards Summer’s heat -
Away from Summer’s sun.
Then comes the lingering warning.
Yorksire is undulating beauty, from Godliness to grimness,
As men spurned the divine for devilry,
Senselessly building Drax, Goole and Donny.
The clouds are gifted a corona of early evening sun,
And the violent, vivacious land revels below – majestic to the brim –
But steadily, imperceptibly declining.
The Midlands: pleasant monotony,
Dimpled and disturbed by small peaks and troughs of homes and hills.
A tame, mellow pastoral symphony –
Troubled by the rushing onward,
To the metropolis.
As it draws closer, the dull accedes.
Dull, dull, flat, flat, flat,
Anglia – a melody of nothing
Save the cacophonous spouts of man’s unimagination.
And dull Anglia’s “jewel”: direst Peterborough.
Plastic, grey, vividless.
City of dark in the light.
Scented with all pervading hopelessness.
Saved by the sunset and the moon was Anglia.
Crescent glaring down on the Rothko painted death of day.
Divinity saving humans from men.
Then dark outside, and nothing to be seen, until,
Before rolling stock slows respectfully for Islington,
So as not to disturb the middle classes,
Or clandestine, ill-fated political deals.
And finally grand but homely King’s Cross, and journey’s near-end.
What a vibrant mausoleum this is.
Filled with memories, once sweet, now bitter –
Or perhaps now mercifully bittersweetened
By the calming truth of life’s contradictions accepted.
The lark has now descended,
And a gently smoking saxophone teases through the night,
Under the looming lights, beneath the glass and steel.
Where are the stones and the hills?
Left some hours behind and
Buried beneath some years ago.
Only painted memories live here now
And, when time comes, merciful portals of escape,
To a splendour too crudely spent,
To a wealth that cannot be measured,Beyond the accountant’s towers.