On the line to six pit junction
See how the 67 saddle tank train
steams under the footbridge
of Upper Bank station aged and plain,
hard by the ridge on the ridge
of the knife-grinder’s stone,
forlorn, and tar-stuck, and wasted alone.
Listen to the wagon works clattering
the riveter’s rat a tat-tatting,
the engine shed’s chattering,
steaming out of this and thating,
wiped on the mutton cloth smelling of oil
tucked into grey dungarees softening in toil.
Past Aaron Thomases, joinery, factory,
hoppity hopping to the spawning well,
chick-weeded, deep-springing, the refractory
newts in clay pits that chits such an horrible smell,
urgent upon the boys long, long forays,
down all of their collecting and wandering ways.
Then inside the crossings warm guardian box
drinking the tea of adulterated chatting,
firesided boys learning of populi vox
of signals raised, to this and thating,
settling into the spotting of green, and brass,
the castles, the earls, and the Britannia class.
And on to much more and more beside
the rail track, sleepered so long and so straight,
spring-welled, frog-spawned, a rising tide,
of pouring fields falling through the wooden gate,
of the rickety ruins down on their day,
chimneys’ long-fallen, along the falling way.
Beside the trucked sidings’ of the slinking fox,
to where, deep in sleep, the sixth pit lies,
across from the mainline and the signalling box.
the old school above a quarry implies
that all of the slagged fossils were foundry bred,
tipped high upon the furnaces in priory red.
Then the bottomless pond, the infamous Pluck,
fished and splashed, or when in winter iced,
demanded that children try their infamous luck, by
throwing splinters of ice, hammered and spliced.
And growing in the children is the slow registering,
that by doing nothing you are doing everything.