Westbury White Horse


White Horse

Winter in Somerset. No trains from Frome.
They sit in the engine sheds, boilers frozen.

Clare drives me to Westbury, in Wiltshire,
the neighboring county. She leaves me there

and I stand on a platform as white with snow
as Westbury White Horse towering above.

People arrive, flapping their arms, stamping
their feet, walking around trying to stay warm.

Finally, to shouts, cheers, and laughter, a train
arrives, its boiler successfully thawed. People

rush forward, open doors, claim their seats.
It’s a corridor, not a compartment train.

“Is this the eight-fifteen to Temple Meads?”
I ask the porter. “Nope,” he says. “That wll

be arriving later.” “When?” “About ten
or eleven, I expect.” “What train is this?”

“Ah, now this is the six-thirty to Bristol.
Running about two hours late. Better be quick.

The guard’s waving his flag. She’s about to leave.”
I open a door, climb on the train.  All

the seats are taken. I stand in the corridor,
shivering, all the way to Temple Meads.

4 thoughts on “Westbury White Horse

  1. I remember trying to get warm in Railway stations, and the concrete so cold on the feet, which were like blocks of ice. The trains were either too damned hot or too damned cold. I’ve had a sweater on all summer (it’s been like this twice before I remember). Of course it’s all to be blamed on Global Warming. I wonder where it went. Wiil ye no come back again?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think I ever travelled on the perfect train nor waited at the perfect station. The TALGO in Spain wasn’t bad, nor the Golden Arrow, nor the Train Bleu … but they all had their little problems. And in S pain, under Franco, on the narrow gauge through the Basque country, there were always armed guards, guns at the ready …


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