While sitting on the train – I’m ‘practising
my scales’: writing blank verse lines devoid
of Class A Poetry, but shifting though the
creative gears, from neutral to first
(which sometimes yields an idea worth pursuing) –
when my attention is diverted by
a shouting woman getting on the train.
I don’t look up, continuing instead
to write my lines of bouncing, rhythmic patterns.
…I’m simply shifting gears: creak, grind, whirr, shift…
I write. Reading back, I see that I
have written shift and shifting in the same line.
The interruptions of the noisy woman
become too much; I can’t ignore them: she
has moved into the seat opposite me.
....The hypermoaning woman venting spleen…
I write. Her children – ah! her targets – join her.
…and spitting venom at her sons. No wonder…
my observations, written in real-time
…they wind her up, the only way that they…
It’s not exactly poetry, but still.
…could get attention. A sorry state.
And as they join her, there she sits, in huffish
silence, before resuming her tirade.
I’ve barely reached my second gear, but she’s
in fifth, and hurling insults loud and ugly.
From further up the carriage comes a new
distraction: piercing; insistent. I write.
…And now a screaming child. It’s hardly Whitsun
Weddings in here. Humanity, thy name is
tattooed in gothic letters across knuckles.
It’s true: one of the sons has this adornment.
And as I write, she barks a line of blank verse:
…I absolutely dare you, Josh! I dare you!
Young Josh now grasps this opportunity
to wind his mother up some more and jumps
on to the platform where the train has stopped.
He waits too long. The Josh-less train departs.
There’s silence, followed by some whispered words,
and minutes later, five young children and
their reckless mother exit at the next stop.
Poor sods, I think, and get on with my writing.