Dame Ann

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

I stand on the bridge over the railway line

As you let off steam outside the station.

It's evening, the time when the light from your headlamp

And the steam from your valves meet in an intricate dance.

Your dulcet whistle provides the music,

And the wind carries it to your waiting audience.


You sing about the life you've lived,

Lonely at birth and lonelier now.

Born so long after your sisters and brothers,

And not quite by the same design.

They tell you that you're one of them,

But your builder's plate says otherwise.

Does lineage even matter

When you're in exile

On the other side of the Atlantic?


Tourists come to gawk,

But most don't care about your song,

Uncomprehending of what they hear.

All they want is a ride around the park,

And like true nobility you serve without complaint,

Giving all your effort

To what you were created for.


Now it's time for one more train.

You puff carefully as you pull away,

Never barking like the bigger engines.

You glide effortlessly along the rails,

Drawing slowly nearer.

Your smoke rises gently to my bridge as you go under,

Taking the chill out of the evening air.

We're close enough to touch,

But that would not end well.

So I just wave and you just chuff,

But at least we understand each other.