The old man sits alone
As he’s waiting for the train,
A ride he takes to nowhere,
Through wind and snow and rain.
He’s not sure why he does it,
He doesn’t think to ask,
It’s just ‘the next best thing to do’,
The step that follows the last.
Railway station, grey and cold,
Wind that whistles through.
A roaring, rocking, rippling train,
One “Just passing through.”
Roofed in sky, limited field,
Slatted view and vision.
He huddles there beside his sack,
Why hasn’t the sun yet risen?
Then one pulls in, shudders still,
Waits with bated breath,
While contents shoulder, spill and spew,
Fill the platform breadth.
The old man slowly comes around,
Reaches for his sack,
Squeaks upright then groans and moans
As the wind whips ‘round his back.
With shuffling gait he totters forth,
Aims for the hole before him.
Shrilling whistles start to sing,
And, as if to answer to a whim,
The monster shudders, starts to clank,
He knows he’s not much time,
So with gasping effort grabs the rail
And is swallowed by the climb.
Lights are dim, voices low,
Seats are old and grimy,
He settles down, stacks his sack,
Peering at his timey.
Price is paid, action done,
Next step taken forward,
Now all’s to do is sit and wait,
He’s not bound homeward.
© Copyright Robin McShane
All rights reserved