Friday, 29 June 2012

The Elephants at Aberystwyth

Published as part of a collection: The Elephants at Aberystwyth, M Storey, Flemish Old Masters Press, 2007.

When the train gets there,
The track is choked with weeds:
This is the end of the line.
In January, whole days go by
When nothing can be seen,
When the horizon disappears,
And you could walk on water
Without knowing anything about it;
There is little telling whether
The hills go up or down,
And all the signs talk double-Dutch.
You only know there are people about
By bumping into them, but even that
Happens only now and then.
There is no such thing as sound.
No-one remembers that Bartok
Played here once, in 1922).
The locals dream of summer,
When they might take a stroll
Along the sea-front, watching out
For cormorants, or pointing to
The funicular that climbs the cliff
At the far end, reminding everyone
of what this place was like, when, they say,
(And there are postcards to prove it),
Elephants used to bathe in the sea,
After crossing the Alps with Hannibal,
Before getting lost in the mists, and
Half-wishing they were back in Carthage,
Where everything, on the whole,
Seemed so much more propitious.

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