Comment: Weekly Muse

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The Independent Culture
BY MARTIN NEWELL

What's this thing with poets and railways?

Perhaps the love affair commences

With the simple steady rhythm

Which commands and lulls the senses,

Trundling through the spines of cities

Where the buddleia thrives in mortar

In the dark Dickensian arches

Eking life from drips of water.

Slicing swathes through sulking suburbs

Goes the train as buildings yield,

Giving way to patchwork pastures,

Chalk hills, churches, wold and weald.

So much for a poet's perspective.

Let's look at commuters' cases

And a litany of problems

Happening on a daily basis.

Here we hit a situation

Where it simply isn't funny.

If we want a decent railway

What we need's a lot of money.

When I say a lot of money -

How much money? Not much more

Than what would be given freely

For a modest three-month war

Or redoing the Newbury bypass,

Plus three thousand cars or so

Which Environment departments

Need to use to run the show.

Paddington is Railtrack's next move -

Station plans approved of late.

Queen Victoria's vaulted chambers

Will host Weddings-While-U-Wait.

Sixty million for the facelift,

Sumptuous rooms with sit-down meal,

Matrimony-a-la-Railtrack.

Well, commuters, how d'you feel?

If, for instance, bride or bridegroom

Got held up by, say, a train,

Would you get a five pound voucher

When you took your vows again?

We apologise to travellers

For the current cancelled marriage.

This is due to bride in Didcot

Stranded in de-coupled carriage.

"`Perfect Husband' Gene Discovered":

There's a headline makes you think.

What might make a perfect husband?

Leaves bar after just one drink?

Not afraid to show his feelings,

Alpha Male, yet soft and caring,

Puts the duvet in its cover

In under half an hour, no swearing;

Pure, mature and good with money,

Women of all ages rate him

Handsome, virile, bright and funny...

Who's this Gene? I think I hate him.

Doesn't work for Railtrack, does he?

Spends all day in suit and tie

Being creative with the schedules,

Then goes home as nice as pie:

"Hello, darling. Mmmwa! I love you.

How's your day been? Pass the salt."

There you have it, weary traveller.

Just blame Gene. It's all his fault.

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