Stormy Night Fish

Pungent halitosis is a gas-lamp’s hiss, a gas-lamp’s hiss is this
In an enclave small, of pallid gloom, a tired old, shabby waiting room
Where warm I wait, observe, and no detail miss

I gaze through the window and my thoughts collide, my thoughts collide outside
So out I go, to cool night air, with tingling, prickly stand-up hair
Where a storm draws near, and growls, while I abide

Fat drops ping and fat drops splat
As gathering rain strikes this and that
And a gas-lamp platoon, affrenzied with moths
Rides a night sky that with anger froths

On the gantry tall, still the semaphores say
In glimmering red, no train on the way
Yet I wait for the fish train, from Immingham due
London bound, to come thundering through

Signalbox interior, dim yellow light, dim yellow light tonight
A lonesome man, behind the glass, pulls levers, pulleys, for the train to pass
While a squall picks up, and shrills, with icy bite

‘Left Luggage’ sign, squeaks and sways, squeaks and sways and rocks
In silver waves, rain now descends, while the vault, of Heaven, harsh thunder vends
The station is bleached, by lightening shards, high voltage shocks

Aloft drone the spooks of the Devil’s choir
Each chorister grim, a telegraph wire
And amid this din, a clatter I hear
As a semaphore signal is set to ‘Clear’

For, a spotter of trains am I, I wait
To see steam toil, though it’s cold and late
And with rain like razor blades at my face
Still I know just how my pulse will race

Soon a loco breathes on silver rails, on silver rails exhales
T. Rex of steel, with slapping feet, powered by flames, and dripping heat
Igniting sleepers, with sparks of golden tails

A quaking platform is a freight train’s kiss, a freight train’s kiss is bliss
When rippling trucks, of rust and grime, jostle and joust, and clash and chime
A young heart pounds, and thrills, at fun like this

Now fulminating through belching steam
Is a drummer marching along a beam
In nudging verse, comes barked refrain
While wheels tap-dance with hat and cane

I watch wide-eyed until, at last
The fish and their Guard have hurtled past
Then head for home, just ten years old
With trousers wet, and fingers cold

An angry mum and dad is the price I’ll pay, the price I’ll pay today
Yet warm dry clothes, and supper hot, will be, absolved, my happy lot
Then to bed I’ll go, and dream, about the railway

by Mick Abbott

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Comments (1)

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