One of us in the compartment stares
by Cecil Day-Lewis
Out of his window the whole day long
With attentive mein, as if he knows,
There is hid in the journeying scene a song
To recall or compose
From snatches of vision, hints of vanishing airs.
He'll mark the couched hares
In grass whereover the lapwing reel and twist:
He notes how the shockheaded sunflowers climb
Like boys on the wire by the railway line;
And for him those morning rivers are love-in-a-mist,
And the chimneystacks prayers.
The other is plainly a man of affairs,
A seasoned commuter. His looks assert,
As he opens a briefcase intent on perusing
Facts and figures, he'd never divert
With profitless musing
The longest journey, or notice the dress it wears.
Little he cares
For the coloured drift of his passage: no, not a thing
Values in all that is hurrying past,
Though dimly he senses from first to last
How flaps and waves the smoke of his travelling
At the window-squares.
One is preoccupied, one just stares,
While the whale-ribbed terminus nears apace
Where passengers all must change, and under
Its arch triumphal quickly disperse
So you may wonder
Watching these two whom the train indifferently bears.