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The Railway Children

June 17, 2010

by Samuel Prince

Scavs, scranners, nourished on nettle stems, tree sap
and windscreen fluid. Slygrogging on the embankments,

defacing the timetable at Stalybridge station, they find
haven in trackside pyramids of palettes or the tunnels

themselves that bombinate with the zoom of intercities
due and gone. They kip in the ditches under tweed

potato sacks and pass round a crocked paraffin lamp
to get off on the residual vapours. Conspicuous as amateur

snipers their backcombed hair frizzing up from fields
of marzipan corn; they launch raids on the slowed down

trains, harangue the guards for Demerara sugar sachets
and shortbread then smear their tribe’s signature on first

class windows with the liquid soap. Crossing the pennines
chances are you’ll see them, pegging it through the sedge

feral in keefiyahs and woad, all whoops and spittle
signalling in semaphore: We are the gross of our Father’s abandon.


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Samuel Prince has had poems appear in various print and online journals including Mimesis, Under the Radar, nthposition and Umbrella. He lives in London.

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  1. djvorreyer
    June 17, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    I love the word “slygrogging” – and the phrase all whoops and spittle Thanks for a great read.

  2. Heather Reid
    June 19, 2010 at 7:06 am

    Great poem. I’m from 2 stations along from Stalybridge (although we pronounce it Stay-lee-bridge), Greenfield and so I could really picture the environment. Some fantastic lines and images. Nice to hear a fellow ‘northerner’

    Heather

  3. JJS
    June 24, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Such smart and playful language in this wonderful poem. Thanks so much for sending it.

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