21 November 2012

On a Train Going West

Leaving Melbourne
Jeffery Smart ship containers
Dry grass, an unattractive shade of yellow green
Cement mixers and a Buddhist Temple

Brick clad houses
Dark faces
Painted-up shop front windows

A group of women wearing hats
In a circle
Tapping on their phones
Like chickens pecking at seed

Peppercorn trees
Dandelion weeds, tall as wheelie bins
A golf course

Thank you for your cooperation
No smoking
No feet on seats
No swearing

On the platform
Applying lipstick in the sun
High heels and pantyhose
Lavender dress and fascinator

Sedans, hatches and coupes
Sit in a car park
Like dogs
Waiting for their masters

Workers in orange vests
Wire fences
Factories, chimney stacks

Sydney's Lounges and bedding
Nursery centre, Paint Spot, Spotlight
Lemon Motors
Does not inspire confidence

We pick up speed
At last, a long horizon
The You Yangs, a sprinkling of sheep and gum trees
Like a Fred Williams painting

Lara, next stop
A couple wait for the Melbourne train
He: grey suit and hat, hands in pockets
She: tattoo on ankle, dark sunglasses, like a gangster

Along the same platform
A woman with a beer gut
Long grey hair, take away coffee in one hand
Lighting a cigarette with the other

Asbestos removal, thriving
Shell Gas Refinery, facing challenges
Ford Motor Company, 440 job cuts
Corio landfill

Howard Arkley suburban houses
Palm trees, sunshine and a glimpse of the bay
The train pulls into
Geelong station

I walk past old men with missing teeth
And teenagers with nothing to do
The Art Gallery is grand and beautiful
My privileged life
Is not lost on me


  1. Interesting the things that place this poem in time (such as asbestos removal and women standing in a group typing on phones, which would have been a ludicrous idea not so long ago). I've never been to the places described here, but enjoyed visiting them via your words.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you! I did feel a little self conscious writing a poem, rather than prose: but it seemed to suit.