Old Books Are Great – Railways!

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Ok, it may not be in the best condition and the photos, apart from the cover, are in black and white, but I love this little book.

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I’ve had it since childhood and I still love to read the information and study the pictures. I’m not a railway buff, but I think I could have been if I had allowed myself to get drawn into that world.

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As a boy, I used to dream of visiting these places, experiencing the different European and other cultures, which all had their own distinction.

I fear much of that uniqueness is disappearing, along with the trains. Of all the countries, Switzerland does appear to be retaining its sense of place, aided no doubt by its particular geographic location.

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copyright Francis Barker 2020

Poem: Be Where You Are

adventure-alps-beautiful-landscape-2444403
Photo by Chris Czermak from Pexels

The rattle and hoot of a train reminds me,
I want to be anywhere but here,

that the journey has more meaning
than any final destination.

Each day the train sounds on time
and I yearn to be on it,

a small case in hand to take me
back in time, forward in thought.

I see mountains and the clearest light,
a home to live in, where I want to be,

where I don’t hanker for anything
other than what surrounds me;

the lakes, mountains, the clearest air
where the noble eagle soars,

his place within nature assured
and mine below him, in peace –

a place in time to think and dream,
of how it all should be.

The dream revealing notion, of simply
being where I am.

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Poem ‘Fugitive’

fugitive

for so long you said nothing,
you let it all well-up inside.
It swelled like some geyser beneath you,
or some vast unstoppable tide

but clearly the choice was yours;
to sit quietly and safe in silence,
or face the dangers of disclosure.
what use was there in pretence?

so you told those cowards straight,
to carry on with ignominious lies,
because you knew the whole truth –
heck, you saw it with your own eyes!

so now you ride trains in the night,
mingle quietly in busy queues;
the world doesn’t want to see you
nor cares of the state of your shoes

and then one day, maybe quite soon,
you’ll vanish with barely a trace;
at least you knew your rabid enemy
defined the justice of your case

© copyright David F. Barker 2012

Poem ‘Heat’

English: A map of the British Empire in 1921 w...
English: A map of the British Empire in 1921 when it was at its height with British Raj indicated when it too was at its height as well. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Heat

When stepping off the ship, heat
hit him,
something heavy and palpable, his duty drawn
out into an exile
stuffing the bank accounts
of far-off millionaires, stuffing
him and the natives from Melbourne
to Manitoba.
Such a relief to be on the train,
officers hankering in rigid
silence for the cool heights of Shimla,
Home Counties in miniature once bleeding
the big world dry, where spinsters
of Little England began to
watch their gingham fade

He favoured his mother’s
side, whose pale skin and eyes were
more fondly remembered
than appreciated, now more than
a world away,
spattered freckles on his face
where the sweat ran
free in that searing carriage;
sights of displaced women
wrapping up in their shawls, children
standing and sitting, staring
and sleeping, heading on to homes they’d
never seen (or ever see), leaving him
to watch the scorched earth slide
by like some weary sentence,
his mind hanging on
to the boney cattle half
hidden in mud, in the channels
of sometime rivers
gaping for monsoon

poem © copyright df barker 2012

New Poem about travelling in Canada… aaah!

Long Train

I’m going to catch that train,
so I can watch panoramas roll by,
their gently unfolding stories,
and pinch myself into believing
I’m seeing the Canadian Shield.

I’ll drink endless cups of coffee
while chatting with fellow travellers.
Perhaps make a friend or two,
and we’ll exchange stories about homelands
and climate change and places never seen,
maybe raise a glass of schnapps or single malt
to toast Ontario, just to ease it all along.

We’ll swap addresses and emails;
I’ll start a blog on my laptop
where I’ll write some pithy lines
with quotes from my friends,
to capture the spirit of Saskatchewan
and Alberta, while the people back home
simply won’t believe my progress.
I’ll produce a battered guitar
from my back pack and we’ll
write songs together about places we see
and sing familiar tunes like Yellow Submarine
to help pass the darker hours.

And when I finally see the Vancouver skyline,
I’ll look forward to the Pacific,
my first sight of the sea.

Or maybe I’ll just sit here in the warm,
and stir more sugar into my tea.

© copyright David Francis Barker 2011