Railway nostalgia


This poem is dedicated to Carrie Thackrah, Mary Arnold, Edna Sanderson, Amy Merrick and “aar Ida”, a happy band of porters who worked on Ardsley station:

“They stood unbowed thru’ ‘itler’s war – but fell in peace under t’ Beechin’ axe”


A strange silence lingers in t’small empty hollow
wheear t’station used to be.
Rampant wild grasses almost cover it ower, sa naa
only t’minds eye can see.
Na entrance from bridge, the’ve bricked it all up,
and knocked t’steps away,
Only memories restore it, stone bi stone, and wander
thru’ scenes a yesterday.

Squat grey buildin’s musty and mellow, three platforms
clean swept and bare,
A prim waitin’ room wi its black-leaded grate, showin’
sumone’s loving care.
Fowk gallopin’ gamely on t’station path, neck to neck
wi “eight-five” Leeds train,
T’grinnin’ driver wavin’ and shoutin’ “cum on”, t’last
yards wa agonizin’ pain.
Stumblin’ inta carriage clutchin’ ya sixpenny return,
ya felt a triumphant glow,
While t’engine steamed and snorted wi impatience,
its fiery heart burnin’ ta go.
T’porters unloadin’ and loadin’, humpin’ heavy crates,
boxes, baskets and bags,
T’station all a flurry, wi slammin’ doors, blowin’
whistles and waving flags.
When t’fowk, fish, rhubarb and t’pigeons was all set
for reight destination,
T’train pulled out in a whirl of smoke, that drifted back
and blotted out t’station.

Naa sumtimes in t’neet, I stir in mi sleep, when a
train’s plaintive whistle I hear,
Fond memories follow, ta t’small empty hollow, and
leave in mi pillow a tear.

Lily Duncan-Birkhead

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