East Coast Main Line
An elongated screech of metal,
punctuated by a stutter of bangs,
shudder of jolts, a tumble of baggage
and bodies, the shatter of glass.
Screams puncture the darkness.
Then silence, absolute, like
the eerie hush of the early hours
in a November freezing fog.
After an eternity of seconds,
those able to move clamber up,
seek out and cradle the trapped,
try to reassure desperate youngsters.
In the centre of confusion and
panic, a reedy soprano takes up
"Lead us, heavenly father, lead us";
others join in: men, and women,
those tending the injured, stemming
the blood, the still. Calls and pleas
turn into song, the tune familiar
as words flood back. A lad fumbles
in his sports bag; as he uses towel
and water to soothe his neighbour,
the sound of approaching sirens
is sweeter than the voices.
If you have any thoughts on this poem, Nicky Phillips
would be pleased to hear them.