Shadorma: Small world

Twelve acres reduced
To just six square feet.
Pines, thick underbrush,
Sheer rock faces,
Windmill rusting in a wide yellow meadow,
Lonely grade crossing, wire fences.

The railroad runs
Right through it, winding up
From Fiddle Creek
To Ridgewood Junction.
Locomotives labour, hauling coal, boxcars, Canadian wheat
Bound for who knows where.

It’s all mine –
Made in my own image –
And it’s good.
From glue-and-paper hilltop
Down to dusty riverbed; created, ordered, set
In motion by my hand.

Some men forge
Empires, fortunes, palaces. Not me.
I have built
My own country:
A land I’ve long seen in dreams
That will never come true.

A small world –
Scaled to my own ambition –
I may command,
Shape, or destroy.
A tiny refuge, where I can be
A child – and a king.


Confession: since Christmas, I’ve been building a model railway in the shed at the end of the garden. Apart from reconnecting with a hobby I loved as a child, I suspect it’s a massive displacement activity: creating a miniature world rather than engaging with and shaping the real one, as I probably should be doing! It’s a distraction I definitely don’t need and probably can’t afford, but I’m enjoying every minute of it.

5 thoughts on “Shadorma: Small world

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