This poem comes from the anthology From sleep-dark tower blocks. This was published by Hackney Library Services in 1976 and was a collection of poems from the 1974 and 1975 Hackney Poetry Competitions.
“If anybody is in a hurry, they want to catch a bus…”
said the guard on the train.
Some person had spread their body across the track,
messing up the timetable.
Death is like that;
it happens when no-one is looking;
creeps up and transmutes a person
into meat and so much
No-one saw it;
the most important happening in his life!
No cameras zoomed in,
no blood squirted, curving through the air.
It was graceless, under-rehearsed,
emptying bag of humanity,
bruised beyond recognition.
Maybe he had decided upon the futility
of catching this train for the 26,327th time;
perhaps he was protesting against
the 6.39 from Dalston
being late yet again.
The train was late because somebody
threw himself in front of it—-
somebody threw himself in front of the train
because it was late.
Which came first,
the timetable or the train?
Most likely he was hurrying home
to happiness and
and was given
a slight twinge of death –
Courtesy of COSMIC JOKES INCORPORATED,
British Rail Division.