The Next Station Is

By Richard Williams


Portsmouth and Southsea then Fratton and Hilsea,

clattering over the creek to the points at Cosham

west to Southampton, Salisbury and Cardiff,

east to Brighton, north to Waterloo.


And you will catch your breath in her reflection,

watching the world from a window seat,

as seasons concertina in ripening fields.

Commuter belt villages and old market towns,

reels of film on a cutting room floor;

are the scenes we keep the ones we’d choose?


And she will be returning here in your arms,

like yawning workers on the stopping train

memories slurring as carriages sway,

past Bowlplex, Vue and the lipstick tower.


Morning always loops home to this place.

dawn into day into dusk into night.

A circle aching still to be filled

with children’s laughter like marker pens.

Love and hope in permanent ink;

this city by the sea and all that you need.