Wednesday, 7 November 2018

tunnel vision

tunnel vision

then there are the tunnels of my childhood;
under the main line, under the branch line,
six pit junction - they are all mine. 
           many in old dark red brick,
some dressed stone, with bird nest weep-holes,
nail-splitting finger holds to peer in and sclutter
the sitting from their tomorrow eggs. 
                          then 
there were the other tunnels, the short ones,
that were filled with ankle water;
or the ones that let the ghost lorries through;
even the one for the branch line 
                                    under the main line.
and then there was the viaduct, 
with the daring white-knuckle walk boards,
phew! we did and all, like! 
                                            then there were
the disused ones hidden by bramble; 
we hid in those and did things
                          then
there were the long white stalactite ones,
that we crawled along in the gutter water,
also white - but that was alright 
because there was an air shaft 
        half way along to
the dare you boys at the other end;
and the rats ran faster 
than our deep-breaths.

        the canal ones were the special ones,
                the crawling edged ones, 
                    the past streamed 
                        slowly along 
                            there, 

         we just knew it, see?

the bridges over the railway, 
  where we dropped chippings
    down the engine funnels, 
        were the fun ones. 
the steamed ones that
condensed in my memory
the taste of metal and wood.

all my time tunnel now
                              back to a childhood of
dirty knees, and come on boys! 

come on! come on! 

the tunnel is closing, 
and the light at the end grows dim.

the vacuoles in my mind are collapsing,
and i am falling in love with the past,
            fossilised?
there’s no future in that?

is it all just
                    tunnel vision?
                      

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