The very best trains go fast and sometimes
dawn comes when you are on them,
sometimes part of the day passes away.
Dormitory towns were developed
to engineer demand for railway lines,
assembling sleepers close to the tracks
where I wake up in the morning in my bed
of rushes, fingering my soft collar of social
esteem, the soft colour of coral teamwork.
Like a root of a tree submerged in water
I survey my body dressed in the expanse
of southern England stretching to the sea.
Southampton dock is pink, the sea yellow,
and the sheet of metal of rivers
leaving the country like roots of trees.
There are countless trains moving across
the miniature landscape carrying
huge populations, passing thru water,
major stretches of marshland, reedbeds,
new shallows over sandy or chalky soils,
always with benign lights as their eyes.
There are my favourite parts of the coast,
the islands: Sheppey, Thanet, Portsmouth,
covered with their medieval architecture
and the tiny, blinking lights of power stations.
Everywhere, water is at the surface,
euphoric, turquoise, standing water,
the vibrating eye close to the pane
surveying the floods, down among the reeds
and rushes, the roots of sunflowers
floating on rafts in Lake Chernobyl.
The sky is coming into the world
thru pools in the bed and I look down
across my body, covered in earth,
to see horses at the mirrors,
rooted like narcissi. I love England
with a real love from a picture
of a farmyard, a bedtime story,
bramble and the big storm.
Hello, Bramble. I know that we are
supposed a dull and sluggish race.
One train by my knee, Ditchling Beacon,
comes to rest at Hassocks Station
in a great plane of placid water,
which reflects my eye as though
it were a pane. The goose,
the depth of peace in the pool,
the hen, and the lamb, rain,
throwing punches thru blossom
into mirrors like the screen
a transparent picture a window is.
Joseph Minden’s poems have appeared in The Rialto, Blackbox Manifold, Tears in the Fence and elsewhere. Micrographia, a collaboration with composer Laurence Osborn, was premiered by The Riot Ensemble in 2016; his first pamphlet, Soft Hans, was published the same year. He sometimes appears in the videos of artist Kat Addis.
‘Firle Corn’ is featured alongside two other new poems by Joseph Minden is Issue Seven of The Lonely Crowd.
© Joseph Minden, 2017. Image © Jo Mazelis, 2017.