It’s not uncommon for trains on the main railway line along which I used to commute to be delayed “because of a fatality on the line”. This is usually a suicide. Mondays often seem to spark this off (presumably for people going to work or school after the weekend). Usually I’ve just been a badly delayed passenger, cursing inwardly at delays of maybe three hours in hot weather (another sparking factor, I think). Then I’ve known there was a personal tragedy behind it, a lost life and damaged lives, but couldn’t relate to something so distant and unknown.
About a year ago I was on a train that struck someone, a young woman I was told. It must have been a suicide because it was nowhere near any kind of crossing and the line at that point ran through fields with a road and a few buildings about a mile away. I felt no impact, but saw police and other emergency people coming down the side of the train peering under it.
A railway worker who was travelling on the train said this was the second time it had happened to that driver.
This poem builds on what I experienced and wondered about.
She trudged a mile to the track
And waited for the stopping train
The passengers felt no impact
The paramedics came again.
Decanted, passengers wandered round
The platforms of a loveless stop
No music and no shroud
Heavy bags began to drop.
Returning to from whence we came
Normality solidified from air
The lost time was a shame
Gentleman marks the crossword square.
Copyright Simon Banks 2012