This morning I took a train from Thornton Heath station to London Victoria. Due to me being visually impaired, a member of station staff assisted me to board the train. However, before he could disembark, off went the locomotive with the railway company employee on board, and none to happy at having been conveyed, without his consent from Thornton Heath to the next station stop, Norbury!
With a plan
To help me board a train.
Oh what a pain
For the doors closed
And there arose
From his lips a bad word,
The kind heard
On the docks.
The commuters where shocked
And the man from the station
Reached a destination
Not wished for.
No wonder he swore!
Someone went under a train today.
We commuters continued on our way.
There is nothing one can say.
Another person went under a train today.
As I walked through Embankment tube station this morning, the announcer apologised for the slight delays caused by a person having gone under a train. This is, sadly a regular occurance in London. One thinks briefly of the poor individual (and their family and friends) then, as one must, continue on one’s way. Most such instances are suicides (or attempted suicides), while a few are accidents.
You have reached the end
of the line my friend.
You must descend
and fight your way through the crush.
Good luck as you rush
to your goal.
But mind the hole
between the train and the platform.
For the gap doth yawn!
Several days ago, I was travelling on the train from Gipsy Hill to London Victoria. On arrival at Victoria a fellow passenger asked whether the train had arrived at it’s destination. This inspired the above poem.
Phantom table moving in time with the darkened train. My hand resting on the table summons a ghostly hand reflected back in the window. The unreal hand moves, or is it mine? Solid table, ghostly object mingle in the black night. What is real? What a dagger of the mind?
On the train yesterday I overheard the following conversation between a little girl and her mum.
Little girl, “Can I have a cat for Christmas?”
Mum, “No, you can have turkey like everyone else!”
(Many of the jokes contained in christmas crackers are fairly dire. However a few, such as the above are rather good. This is one which fell out of a Christmas cracker during my work’s Christmas dinner yesterday).
This morning I awoke at around 4 to hear the wild wind rattling my casements. The sound reminded me of Lockwood, in Wuthering Heights and the terrible evening he spent in the haunted chamber. There was no Kathy moaning that she had been walking the earth these twenty years but the sound of the wind as it shook my windows was as though some unearthly presence was seeking admittance to my dwelling. The gusts blocked out all other sounds, only an untamed beast clawing at my casements could I hear.
When I left my flat at a little after 7:30 the wind had dropped significantly. My guide dog, Trigger paused uncertain as to how he ought to navigate around the odd fallen branch and pile of leaves, however there was no sign in or around Crystal Palace of the devastation which certain casandras predicted.
I reached my local station only to find that there where no trains until at least 10. I called my boss who advised that I return home and take a days leave so here I sit at my desk blogging! I have no idea why the trains where not running. I guess that leaves on the line or, more likely fallen trees where to blame. The walk to the station was a pleasant one so I don’t feel that I wasted the morning.
Sounds are incredibly evocative. My home is some 25 minutes walk from several train stations. Occasionally, when the wind is in the right direction and most often at the dead of night when the traffic has ceased I hear the whistle of a train. It is a mournful sound which induces in me feelings of sadness. I am not sure why this should be the case. Perhaps it flows from my perception that there is something about the sound, in and of itself which is evocative of sadness. The speed of the train also reminds me that life is passing by rapidly, we are here now but very soon, like the speeding night train we will be lost in the darkness which for me is symbolic of death.
At other times I hear the hooting of an owl as he hunts in the park next to my home. It is an erie sound which has, in many different cultures been associated with bad luck or death. In Macbeth it is the bird of ill omen which portends the death of Duncan
Lady Macbeth: ”hark! Peace! It was the owl that shrieked, the fatal bellman,
Which gives the stern’st good-night”.
Whenever I hear the cry of an owl it is of lady Macbeth’s words that I think. However, having said that I love listening to the owl as he hunts for his prey. I can stand for long periods by my open window harkening to his call.
Some sounds produce feelings of rest and contentment. I love listening to the sound of running water. It is hypnotic and soothes me when I feel tired or stressed.
Of course the lack of sound can be wonderful. To sit in tranquillity reading or just relaxing is very necessary to the human spirit.