On the Underground (poetry challenge)


Our train is delayed,
passenger taken ill at Liverpool Street;
we have to stand behind the yellow line,
says the announcement,
omitting the details we can imagine
if we wish but our faces don’t let on;
blank looks of indifference,
or calm commuters’ courage:
it’s the way we cope as we wait,
fixed on our patchwork of thoughts;
and when the train comes hurtling in,
we stay behind the yellow line,
maybe scan each carriage
for signs of distress,
stand back as the doors open
to let people out,
then step on board to sit or stand
and carry on with our lives
with a show of stoical humanity –
or a case of not admitting
to that unbearable feeling
of being cruelly circumscribed.


© Nemo 2023
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