Time being largely a fancy created by humans to rationalize forces infinitely more complex than our ‘gold-fish ‘ bowl imaginings, it should not be a surprise that the first day of spring can be a summer’s or a winter’s day-today it is most definitely the latter. I spent most of it in the historic market town of Chesterfield, where I read my copy of Crannog magazine- a fine Irish publication from Galway, which landed on my doorstep this morning. It was bloody cold-with a bitterly cold east wind and flurries of snow so I stayed in cafes, writing and chatting to a charming PHD student about the middle east-her specialism-and the impact of social media- i also had a long chat with my old friend Phil- a chat which roamed far and wide. This poem-first published in ‘The Journal’,has nothing to do with Chesterfield. It does however describe a journey by train, a few years ago, to or from Chester.
Three seasons in an hour today
As seen from the window of our train
That nudged its way from Chester.
Weak sunshine, light rain-then snow.
We stopped first at Delamere,
At a field of stubble where fieldfares grazed
By birch trees broken by a storm,
Or snapped clean by weight of ice.
You slept and missed Cuddington,
And Greenbank- where the blond girl left the train
Then teetered off on her high heels
To her distant suburban dreams;
As a flock of gulls left for the Dee
At Lostock Garnham, where the sun appeared again.
You missed the peach cheeked girl at Plumley
By the sign for Birtwisles Pies,
The largest cemetery I have ever seen.
And, as we trundled across the plain
I doubted that I would ever see