Railway lines

How many times have I sat on this train
With questions flashing through my restless mind
Quick as the country passing. Yet again
I’m leaving all familiar things behind
And heading to the city’s dust-blown streets
They say are paved with gold in search of pay;
I’ve scored small victories, suffered sour defeats
And smiled home with the dying of the day.
So what of this adventure? Do I ride
This iron road to glory? Will tonight
See me return in triumph, or denied;
My little hopes undone and lost to sight.
Stout hearts march onwards, never looking back:
Have I the steel to take a different track?


Scribbled (most of) this in a notebook on the way to London yesterday. Needs must when the Devil drives and all that, but I cordially detest the capital; fortunately I don’t have to go there very often. The radical 19th Century writer William Cobbett, best known for his Rural Rides, positively loathed the place, famously calling it ‘the Great Wen’. I think he and I would have got on rather well. N.