8.23 to Marylebone by Jim Hatfield

Western Star, battered workhorse of a locomotive,
painted in the livery of a Buddhist nun,
more accustomed to hauling freight than conveying
the likes of me in state, pulled alongside Platform 1
with a trio of vintage First Class carriages in tow;

occasioning some uncertainty among those wondering
whether or not to board, on seeing businessmen in
crisp, white, cuff-linked shirts salting breakfasts and pouring coffee
as the leading coach eased to a halt.

Relief, was, happily, on hand when the guard, dressed
in the garb of a wine waiter at The Savoy, grandly announced,
albeit with a weary sigh, that cars 2 and 3 were free for
the hoi polloi to occupy.

Thus I made my way to Walsall in unexpected style;
seated in an armchair, with table lamp at elbow
and leg-room enough to satisfy a giraffe.
A pleasant change from the sardine-packed 8.35
that I had set out to catch.

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