Wood End
Wood End pilgrimage

And perhaps today
you will take the quiet path
from the road, drop down
to the station, fifty-six steps
on the stairs to the platform


And perhaps you will disturb
a heron, resting in the trees
listen to the call of wood pigeon
and jackdaw, feel the breeze
on your face as it blows soft
through the cutting, this place
where nothing is hurried
where trains only stop if you
ask them


And perhaps the rain is soft
or sun is shining, and among the alder
at the corner of your eye
a sparrowhawk is hunting
and as it glides by, all the birds
fall silent


And perhaps you will sit, watch
a while as trains dawdle to halting
as they slip into tunnel’s dark
or spill out into sunlight


And perhaps you will board,
think to hear in the travelling rattle
the echo of hammer and pick
and shovel, the laughter and curses
of labouring men


Later, returning, you will climb
fifty-six steps up to the world
promise yourself to come back
here again

by Steve Pottinger