Bernie and her pink-sashed Hens
heft little wheely suitcases on board
at Dover Priory.
Somewhere round Folkestone Central
sounds the deep-throated pop of a cork.
Primroses spill from the embankment
after Folkestone West. The halt
at Ashford International
is slow and shrill before
another bottleneck resounds.
Gean and blackthorn dash by in lace
to Ebbsfleet, and the Hens are squealing
down the sky’s blue aisle
where pale clouds inevitably process.
We shriek long miles
towards the Stratford tunnel’s mouth and,
blessed by nonchalent wind turbines
and pylons with their arms akimbo,
plunge into the dark.
Surfacing between high walls, we wait
impatient at the platform, prattle off again,
sky patched grey above us now, the sun
coming and going.
Narrowboats are log-jammed in the basin.
We will shortly be arriving…
The Hens unscrew their stems
and pack away the plastic flutes.
We pull in to St Pancras, past
a jungle glimpsed behind the fence
of Camley Street Natural Park.
© Jo Field