He wasn’t a poet who woke early
and wrote of distant trains drumming
under a late blooming moon.
He was much fresher than that.
But reading his new poem sure enough
there was the moon banging away
like a breakfast chef in a dining carriage,
and the droning train was the equinox
with a locomotive at each end
so if you caught it in a photo
it could be going either way.
Sound is air moving against itself.
Urban air is work-hardened
by bins slamming in back alleys,
red cranes dropping steel girders,
and the rabble of diesel engines.
Whereas down here the air
is newly annealed by the ocean.
That’s why a train in the country
sounds different to a train in the city,
surely you’ve noticed that?
I said I liked his poem,
it felt like a favourite sweater
on a winter platform.
Perhaps it was one of mine?
But then the chef finished clattering,
my breakfast arrived,
the dining car swayed
and the sun shone bright as an egg.