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Railway Lines
December 2013

In 1978 I took this photo of sunset over railway lines near Warrington. Years later I found myself living in Warrington and set out to find the scene again. I spent many years looking for it without success. Then in 2013, long after I'd left the area, I went back and as I drove down a particular road something stirred in my memory. I got out and walked back. There was the place from where I had taken it, but there was no railway, just trees and a housing estate. No wonder I'd never found it! So I wrote this poem.

The lines diverge
But divergence was not their saviour.
The ferrous freeway is pulled up by its roots,
Each shining metal tuber clinging to the oily gritty gravel
Until the last possible moment;
Then writhing, groaning, contorting,
It falls twisted where the uncaring hands let go.
Lines... lines... sinuous Sirens that ensnared
Spotty trainspotters with fresh lines in notebooks
And wrinkled Odyssean wanderers with seasoned lines on faces alike.
Their steel gaze is blunted, their ley-line straightness unravelled;
They lie disposed and indisposed, the ley unlaid.