Westbury 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’ll
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.