The Saturday Poem: Stalled Train, by Pat Boran


In the listening carriage, someone’s phone
cries out for help. A tourist frisks himself,
a woman weighs her handbag
then stares into space. Our train
is going nowhere. We’ve stood here now
so long the cattle in this field
have dared come right up close
to chew and gaze. We tell ourselves
that somewhere down the line
things we cannot understand
are surely taking place – the future
almost within reach – and into each
small telephone that rings
or shudders now, like doubt,
we commit (if still in whispers)
our hopes and fears, our last known whereabouts.

Pat Boran’s collections include New and Selected Poems and Waveforms: Bull Island Haiku ( both Dedalus Press). He is also the author of a memoir, The Invisible Prison