Thursday, June 04, 2009

Away Day



The rains fail in Powys.
No leaves on the line.
No landslides frustrate us.
The train runs on time.
We set off ecstatic.
No cloud in the sky.
We sit as if stunned
as the landscape slides by,
the smudge of a forest,
the flash of a stream,
the scythe that was swift
sweep by in a dream,
Cnwclas and Dolau,
Cilmeri and Garth,
Llanwrda, Llangadog,
Llandeilo, Ffairfach,
the drone of the diesel,
the rhythm of the rails,
the gossip, the stories,
sleepwalking Wales.

This was written on the train on
the Heart of Wales line as members
of the Brynamman based writers'
group, 'ScribesRus', returned from
a day trip to Shrewsbury. Colin Jones
wanted a poem that used the rhythm
of the train a la 'Night Mail' and also
the names of the stations en route.
The original title was 'Away from it all',
but Beryl Henshaw came up with the
much snappier 'Away Day'.

There's one further context you should
bear in mind. This was the day before
the big elections on June 4 and we had
been talking about the mess that
confronted us. No one knew what
could be done. Nobody knew who they
could vote for. So in a sense, our day
out was an escape from an ever pressing
reality.

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