My bungalow, this side of the crossing
The town, that side of the crossing
How it was then, was sometimes
You'd sail across on your bike, and
Sometimes you'd have to wait, wreathed
In early mist and/or the pungent
Fumes of cars keeping their engines running
Along comes the train, and then maybe
the barrier slides up, and we all
Snake along together, or maybe
There's another train to come, and
We all grumble together (or some of us do).

Then one day

We woke up listening to the trains go by
Little four-carriagers sprinting people
Off to work, across the flat lands
Then a long, slow squealer of freight
Stopping on the crossing, shunting back
Into a different siding or something, with
The buildings throbbing in time with it
This morning, though

One came, slowly, slowly, rumbling
Along the track, across the crossing, and
It just kept on coming.
It took us a while to realise

There was a train, and it had no end

As time passed, those of us
On this side of the crossing adjusted,
Sort of, some better than others
Me, I could cycle under the rail bridge
Just an extra six minutes on my journey
But it really messed up the heads of the drivers

My neighbours, deeply impressed by my
Drain-rodding acumen, were readily
Convinced to participate
In my project of growing giant
Bamboo, of Crouching Tiger proportions
And we built a footbridge over the crossing
One day, with a lot of grunting, swearing
And rope

So now, at least, people can walk over
Some stop and watch
No, actually everyone does sometimes

It has been over two years now
Time to discover very little
Except that it isn't just a freight train
Sometimes there are containers, or
Gravel buckets, or whatever
But Sometimes there are carriages
And sometimes they're empty, and
Sometimes they're not, and
Sometimes it isn't people

It's a small big thing that no-one understands
And it has changed us
Less those of us who live close, because
You get used to things after a while,
But everyone is quietly wondering
What couldn't possibly happen next
That's going to anyway

© 2000 Dharmachari Padmavyuha back...