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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 7, Number 2, June 2013

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Geoffrey Winch
Felpham, West Sussex, UK


Permanent Way

reading newspapers
books, magazines,
solving crossword puzzles
or day-dreaming
through their windows

drifting
in and out of slumbers—
songs
singing in their heads
to the rhythm of the rails

In fifty years not one passenger has woken up to the countryside through which this route was driven: the tracks are long gone. Now, as I walk through this thick couch grass with its dense roots entwined in the clinker bed, I brush aside thistles taller than me, careful of their prickly leaves and purple heads. I listen to sparrows chatter as they flit in and out of the hawthorns that just seem to spread and spread. I have time to study the old oak posts that have always delineated the way, amazed how the wires stretched between have maintained such tension for so many years. Those passengers would never have imagined me not being able to hear the sound of steam working under pressure.

cast iron sign
WHISTLE
BEFORE ENTERING TUNNEL
as ever when walking through the dark
I hum “Train of love’s a-comin’”

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