Probably a forlorn hope but trying to write a poem a day to get back to writing ..here the first try. Will end up a poem every other day or a poem a week if lucky but at least started .
No preamble to this just wrote it – will consider meaning about five years down the line…then did web search on troop train / Didcot and found out the following…wonders of the internet!
There are some excellent footplate reminicenses by Harold Gasson (Footplate Days, cure Firing Days, Steaming Days Pub. Oxford University Press) who was based at Didcot when Skylark was based there during the war and immediately afterwards. He talks about operating Skylark and I particularly remember when Gasson (with his father as driver-contrary to regulations) surprised some US soldiers with engine experience with what an old double framer could do with a troop train on the Didcot, Newbury and Southampton line. Don’t remember any reference to this train but they are a very good read.
The “Railway Magazine” for August 1951 carries a brief report about this SLS special. The train originated in Birmingham, and the correspondent comments that “Skylark” worked the five-coach train up to speeds of over 60 mph between Didcot and Swindon, and Leamington and Birmingham.
A rippling of stalks
raspberry bushes twirling
the flare of green bean flowers
along a row of canes
River, mirror, sky
as chalk whorls rise and twist
up the farm tracks
and dust the cornflowers
Celandines, chrysanths, marigolds
a garden breathing colour
as the sky deepens
toward thunder and showers
A torrent later, pools of milk
as the troop train steams in
a taxi drags a figure home
to an empty hearth, thorns
A bed of weeds, nettles and briars
the overgrown presence of neglect
that first night she watched him
fearful he would fade at daylight