I am going through all my note books right now and transcibing some of the better stuff. I wrote this a few years ago on the train to Dublin. It’s not a poem as such, more notes really but I think there is some nice imagery here. I had brought a sketchpad with me and instead of drawing I filled it with everything that caught my attention in the hope it would capture that journey from Waterford to Dublin that so many of us around here are be familiar with. It sort of makes me laugh too…
*Jo Jo Dollard is a young girl who went missing near Moone in Co.Kildare in 1995 and I think of her on parts of the Dublin route.
ON THE TRAIN
Steaming fields knotted with rusty bracken.
Toy cows, cut-out hills, muddy brooks,
Jo Jo Dollard, chestnut trees.
A curled up jersey cow under a ribbon of mist.
Shining jet trails plunge into the rising sun.
Stone walls and conifers, a black jeep curls under us.
Toothpick fence, smoking chimney.
Worm cast curls of yellow tubing against a shed.
Three horses, heads hanging, chestnut, black, brown.
A lattice of smoking hedges, the complete shape of trees.
Rusty round roofed barn over black plastic rolls of hay.
A passenger picks his nose.
Yellow rafters, concrete breeze blocks.
The abbey, an old tooth, bites the sky.
A bridge over smokey water.
Thomastown. A flock of crows wheels over a yellow field.
New passengers. The mist persists.
Houses together on curls of road.
Railway cutting. A caravan. A shed in a tiny field.
A copse on a small hill. Sheep dots.
Road sign gleaming bright yellow, facing east.
Sun rising now, blue shadows running jagged over bright green fields.
A cement mixing truck, yellow-bellied on the road.
Diggers, heavy trucks, mount the skyline.
Smoke, pink, rising straight.
Dark tracks in a dew thickened field.
The smell of farts swells and recedes in the carriage, a noxious tide.
Glanbia. Bridge belly, graffiti scrawled.
Scots pine rising. Alone.
A metal fence, a treehouse made of beauty board.
Kilkenny. More passengers, squinting onto the platform.
Garish clothes, a phglemy cough.
Smell of pineapple, a massive forearm, a stripey shirted man.
A tattooed ticket inspector, tie, glasses.
Purple people shadows cross the platform.
We pull away. Backwards. Fuck. I hate backwards.
Stacks of wooden pallets, look like giant Shreddies.
The barn, the sheep, the trees, the mist again.
A curve of track. Red truck at a crossing.
Half moon waning huge in the blue.
Clatters of pigeons, ploughed fields.
The delicious shapes of trees again. Always.
Tractor tracks in a vast yellow field.
Ivy crawls up, everywhere. I recognise a cow.
Sun is white as jet trails scribble the sky.
Morning clouds combed neatly over.
Far low hills look dry like the desert ridges at Barstow.
Tea trolley comes back.
A barnyard, horse stalls, a neat fence. Crows. Two.
The Blackstairs Mountains. Cold air of the backs of my thighs.
What if I were to die with all these people?
There is a hair stuck to my pen.
Two crows. Again. Iron bridge, flowers, purple and maroon,
splashes of white. Three crows. This train is cold.
Running school boys on the platform. I wish we were there.
Sheep, a big black and white one. Muddy yard and cars.
A grey barn with a tumour of ivy.
Dead tree dances, curiously sensuous.
Cows:Black, white, black.
Clouds, threadbare grey cushion filling, cover the sun.
To the west it is clear. A low ridge slips off its blue night shadow.
Horses sunk in a boggy field.
River in the shade of a dark hedge, like a crack into another place below.
Housing estates, higgledy piggledy back gardens, extensions,
white curly gates, rubbish, broken down cars.
Train opposite, empty, on the way to Waterford.
Shiny shoes under the table, like conkers.
Poplars salute the sun. The mist. Still.
The hedges, blue cut-outs on pearly green.
An arched bridge combs a shallow river.
Jo Jo has faded, as she always does, after Thomastown.
A huge swathe of new grass covers sensuous hills
pinned down by ivy covered trees.
The land flattens and widens.
A graveyard, a blue wheelie bin among the headstones.
Athy. More passengers.
Conker shoes has moved opposite, wants my leg space. Hah!
Young girl in cyan tracksuit broken by her muffin top.
Little green digital man and woman, show where the toilet is.
A smaller, older graveyard, low headstones uniformly mottled,
scattered in the gloom of trees.
Brown incision in green field.
Small bridge. Horses. Another bridge.
A ‘V’ of mottled cloud fans out from the east.
A dark, jagged row of pines, a stubbly field inlaid with glittering silver.
Pylons reach for the sky marking a bandits trail of lines over the bog.
Red glossy nails text.
A field knobbled with reeds.
Spiky young Christmas trees, nettles and trampled loam, chocolate dark.
Gabian baskets step up to an old stone bridge.
Faces, blank and sleepy, waiting for journey’s end.
A cornfield, cars, tyres piled on a black plastic-sheeted hill.
A tidy garden in the rag rug fields.
Five seagulls patrol new turned earth.
A spire, trees, evoke Constable.
Kildare. M. Doyle sits down.
It is written on his black zip up folder.
I am reminded of Waverley, Edinburgh.
Old station house, wide chimneys, like teeth.
Another roundy roofed barn.
Reflected in the window, fellow travellers heads
hang upside down in the glass luggage racks.
A magpie. Sheep. Gorse and shining puddles.
M. Doyle yawns.
Conker shoes yellow- stringed wrist turns as he reads.
The smell of pineapple lingers.
M. Doyle sleeps. The blonde lady next to him
marks a page of her romantic novel with a postcard,
heads to the toilet.
Newbridge. We don’t stop.
Housing estates, gleaming roofs on backyard sheds.
Chimneys buttoned with satellite dishes.
A digger marooned in a mess of wasteland.
M. Doyle is out for the count.
Outside the fields are sometimes green taffeta on water,
sometimes green baize ripped and rutted with chocolately wounds.
M. Doyle is on his elbows now.
Romantic Novel has two rings, left hand. Recent. Or a long time ago.
Conker shoes lips are moving as he reads, an embroidered polo player
on his T-Shirt.
More housing estates, pointy red facades.
Same. Same. Same. Same. Same.
A tiny wooden shed in the trees on an embankment.
Another glassy river. More pearly field and trees.
M. Doyle slumps down onto the table.
Small, low clouds, float south.
Pylons stand like bouncers.
Tall trees line up for a dutch painting.
Crows dive. Two horses, one sitting one standing:vacant.
A drumlin pinned down by trees. A helicopter goes east.
Red van, two fluorescent jackets.
Conker shoes is reading The Accidental Billionaire.
One can hope.
M. Doyle slumbers on.
A patch of scrubby land, a plume of smoke.
A woman peers over her glasses at her phone.
Two tall white chimneys.
A conversation across the aisle,
now that we are near, its safe.
Trains, bridges, railway buildings, graffitied walls, blue sky
seen through trees on a grey brick embankment.
Concrete wall patched with rectangles of white paint.
Glass and wood buildings. Orange and black engine.
The Phoenix Park monument.
M. Doyle moves then
is suddenly gone.
We are here.