By Alex Alec-Smith
The Disused Railway Line
Down the sun baked path,
past the defunct quarry
with its burnt out cars
to the railway line.
A labyrinth of bushes
that catch at my hair,
nettles knee high
stinging through my jeans
as I follow the faint trace
it opens out
as a farm track –
wide, easy walking
between banks of brambles
I am trespassing,
The green lane turns into a field,
the line continues
smothered under thorn and elder.
in a clearing of tyres,
scrap metal and garden waste.
Voices from the road above.
Clambering up the embankment
I emerge unseen.
Now the sun has gone
Swallows flying low under grey skies,
trees dripping from the last shower,
the earth a darker shade than dry.
A walk after rain –
but still there are people.
I see golfers in pairs –
but never see where the ball goes.
A black bin liner for dog poo
marks the edge of the golf course.
On, into a northerly wind.
Just as I think I have found solitude
two runners go by in all their lycra.
I pass a field of long stemmed daisies,
a field of barley spattered with poppies,
pick dock leaves to blow my nose.
The lads, in their small groups,
are not on the playing fields
The dead badger is still there,
hidden, down the side of the railway bridge.
A Cup of Coffee
All she wanted was a cup of coffee
with friends, it didn’t have to be in a cafe,
that would be nice, but a take-away would do –
It wasn’t really the coffee, more the friends –
A slurp of real life, no virtual milk and sugar,
just black, harsh normality
I am writing from East Yorkshire where I live and work as an antiquarian bookdealer.
The first two poems are a reaction to the amount of people suddenly out walking in the first lockdown and shortly after and the third a longing for a return to the simple things in life.