One of my favourite poems when I was a child was ‘From a Railway Carriage’ by Robert Louis Stevenson.  The poem gives us a glimpse into a railway journey through the sprightly rhythm of verse used to evoke the movement of a train – and who could fail not be be intrigued by any poem that mentions fairies AND witches!  Another similar favourite poem is ‘Night Mail’ by Gresham’s own W.H Auden (he was a Fairfield boy from 1920 to 1925), describing the journey of a mail train travelling from London to Scotland. Ultimately the poem celebrates human connections.

FROM A RAILWAY CARRIAGE by Robert Louis Stevenson

Faster than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;
And charging along like troops in a battle,
All through the meadows the horses and cattle:
All of the sights of the hill and the plain
Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by.

Here is a child who clambers and scrambles,
All by himself and gathering brambles;
Here is a tramp who stands and gazes;
And there is the green for stringing the daisies!
Here is a cart run away in the road
Lumping along with man and load;
And here is a mill and there is a river:
Each a glimpse and gone for ever!

Categories: Words & Verse