The Poppy Line

With a dragon’s sigh,

The heavy locomotive is ready to depart;

One last wave goodbye,

A gentle tug and the journey starts.

In clouds of billowing smoke,

The train passes a signalman,

And ducks under an iron bridge,

On its way from Sheringham

To Holt, the taste of seaside

On the tongues of everyone.

From the carriage window, an unbroken view:

Harvested fields roll down to the sea,

Littered with bales and misshapen trees.

On a cliffside course a game of golf is played

And in verdant fields horses nonchalantly graze,

Momentarily obscured by a drifting haze

Of locomotive steam tinged with soot.

The train rumbles on with a blast of the whistle

Past an engine shed, carriages and sidings,

And a pyramid of coal, towards its destination.

Past stony beach, a heath with woodland walks,

To the preserved nostalgia of Weybourne Station;

An awning of Bakerloo brown and cream,

Out-of-date advertisements for Woodbines,

Preserved waiting rooms – an enthusiast’s dream.

On past the halt at Kelling Heath,

Waving at walkers, inhaling the smoky breath

And listening to the engine working hard

Through farmland, past a signal box and shunting yard

To the station at Holt and the smile of the guard.


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