Necklace of Lights

An old-fashioned red London bus
takes me back to childhood’s
sleepy night-ride home
from my grandparents house:
sitting between Mum and Dad,
bare legs on fuzzy seats,
folding concertinas of paper tickets,
hypnotised by the perfume of exhaust,
rumble of engine, and the window’s
black and empty gaze. I believed
the stars – obscured by sulphrous
streetlights – had been caught,
strung in a sparkly dance
of headlights in the distance.

Kim M. Russell, 23rd October 2018

Image result for nighttime view from a 118 routemaster
Image found on Londonist

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Poetics: Journey, also linked to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Tuesday Platform

Sarah is our bartender for today and she tells us that her prompt was inspired by Qbit’s prompt from a couple of weeks ago, in which he asked us to write about the individual in a crowd. Sarah says that, through three people writing about their commute to work, she got to travel to Sweden, Canada and the Philippines. It also made her think about her own commute, travelling through some beautiful scenery, but rarely paying attention to it.

For today’s prompt Sarah asks us to think about journeys we do regularly – journeys that have become so routine we can get to our destinations and think “How did I get here?” – and write poems about them. She’d like us to spend a little time thinking about the journey itself, our thoughts and feelings as we travel. What’s it like as we set off and arrive? Are there landmarks we always acknowledge? Are there features we are always surprised by?

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64 thoughts on “Necklace of Lights

    1. Thank you, Björn. That journey can never be the same as it was back then – no more grandparents, no more parents. Only one sister who is in touch and she will be moving even farther away soon. However, the purple park and ride bus into Norwich is a wonderful ride!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Lovely write. I never traveled on buses, except occasionally around town. The memories in this are so sweet. Believing the stars had been caught is a wonderful thought in this poem. Thank you for sharing a bit of your childhood with us.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My earliest buses were Heavy Woollen District. Not a very endearing name that some change in local government scrapped when I was little. They had the same prickly seats and shiny metal frames as the London buses though.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. We have imported a few of those double-deck red buses over here, using them for city tours. I like sitting on the top deck. Your reflections from childhood is sweet and precious. Like you, I am the elder in the family now; all that came before are gone; sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, this nostalgia invoked image is so beautifully expressed. This journey speaks to me of the childhood wonder that we perhaps lose somewhere along the way. I really loved this image: “the stars – obscured by sulphrous/streetlights – had been caught,/strung in a sparkly dance/of headlights”. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Such carefully-chosen images convey your scene so completely…even the suggestion of a reason for being out so late–a concert, perhaps, or movie hinted at by the concertina folded from the tickets. I love that you don’t tell all, but just hint and I identified so much with this sleepy ride home between protective parents. Wonderfully done.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. the infamous double decker red bus — I like how you mention the blackness of the blank stare of the windows, and of being sleepy … and then thinking on that broad expanse of sky – …

    I felt like I was a small child, tucked up safely between loved ones, and as you noted, sleepy, dozy, awake and aware, but also drifting … for want of sleep and dreams … and yet, also being in that surreal “inside a bus” lighting colouring, which, is kind of universal for it’s weird hues etc. … all in all, I felt like I stepped into your journeys and yet my own too, as if you’ve painted me a picture of a portal through which I can step, either as adult witness or child, as I wish … 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for such close reading and appreciation, Pat. 🙂 Although it was a long time ago, those memories are so clear to me. The older I get the clearer they become. They’re wonderful for ideas and starting points for poems.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My childhood fancies often were employed to smooth less than comfortable moments. Finding the bits of magic in the mundane turns cranky, tired children into adventurers on quest.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. How we children absorbed all we saw and felt to store in our memories which now come flooding back in later years to be used or perhaps wept over. Despite my early childhhood was in war ravaged Britain in the 1940’s I still recall it with satisfaction that there was so much to experience and learn from in those early years. What a great poem yours is.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Such wonderful nostalgia in this one, Kim 😀 Especially love; “the stars – obscured by sulfurous/streetlights – had been caught,/strung in a sparkly dance/of headlights”. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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