Unattended Crossing Ahead

Some poems have no plan
you just have to be there to catch
the express when it whooshes through
and there’s no timetable

Oh they’re not at all
like embroidery laid aside
taut in its drumlike frame
and awaiting a meditative hour

Chance is all against them
they are as unlikely as this love
who knows when we’ll meet again?
And it’s not that we don’t want to—

but then the children, the grave demands
of time and place, our health even—
the years compacting around our roots
perhaps it’ll always be like this?

Oh no, we say, we simply can’t!
seeing it all so clearly:
and yet we’re left breathless
standing here at the dusty crossing

while the red light bobs away
and the bell’s clang chokes in a country silence
thinking I might have been on that train
thinking it could have killed me.

Iain Lonie