I first posted this ‘homage’ to The Night Mail from Princes Street Gardens on September 20th 2014. Today I am happy to post it again. Surprised only by the speed at which it has come to pass. And the circumstances in which it has done so…
This is the night mail crossing the border,
Sowing the seeds of a different order,
Stirring passions on left and right,
To their hopes and fears Godspeed tonight.
Dreams of justice stir their cause,
Or of English votes for English laws.
Pundits weeping as she passes,
Crocodile tears for the huddled masses.
Politicians stirring as she approaches,
What horrors lurk within her coaches?
Leaden now their golden calf,
But still they cannot turn her path,
They play for time but time’s a thief,
Blank faced in utter disbelief.
Dawn freshens, Her climb is done.
Down towards London she descends,
No steam tugs here or yelping glade of cranes,
No field of furnace apparatus, but watchful algorithm,
All England waits for her:
In betting shops and pay day lenders
Dog eats dog.
Heads of disagreement, accusations of appeasement,
Hurried Bills and Acts,
Nobel laureates’ opinions, heartfelt pleas from The Dominions,
Applications and explanations,
And ever and always calculations,
Summit meetings held in Brussels,
Over Chablis, frites and mussels,
Letters denoting dignitaries,
Senior Tories, signatories,
Letters to The Times and The Telegraph,
Letters that elicit the sneer and the laugh,
Letters on the covers of draft White Papers,
Letters written in every hue,
The soothing, the violent, in red, green and blue,
The romantic, the pompous, the fresh and the boring,
Those worth taking note of and those worth ignoring,
The smart and the stupid, those shrill with hysteria,
Tweeted or shared on social media
Thousands are still asleep,
Dreaming of terrifying markets
Or of friendly solidarity with neighbours,
Asleep in working where?
Asleep in Kensington and Mayfair,
Asleep in hedge funds,
They continue their dreams,
But shall wake soon.
And none will hear the knock
Without a quickening of the heart,
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?