A chance encounter

Spanish train

I entered the Given Words competition again this year, and although not placed, the organizers are kind enough to publish the entries anyway. Here is my effort, which fits the Spanish–New Zealand connection of this unique event.

A chance encounter

In 1983 I stood on a platform in Spain,

where trains are late or early.

The dust was full of summer and the plenitude of life.

There were shiny green leaves, and snow–white buildings,

and I was ten, nested in a bubble of family

without feeling lost amongst the difference.

With my pencil I churned out technical drawings

of Spanish trains: blue curvaceous TERs,

and TALGOs, silver-sleek with crimson trim.

That afternoon, a wine-soaked English voice

rang from the window of a departing carriage:

God bless all you mad Kiwi bastards!

Standing next to us at this decrepit junction

was the mad Kiwi bastard in question,

a seedy character with a five day beard,

sunburned and heavy jawed, who talked

with the candour of someone far from home,

cast into the company of his own kind.

I recognized his marginal quality.

There was something about a marriage.

My mother said later, he was running away.

3 Comments

      1. Even though I would have been there I was too young to remember this or too busy staring out the window thinking what it would be like to live in a house carved into the hillside with little black holes as windows. Thanks for the memory.

        Like

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