Snow On Tottenham Court Road


4. Waiting at Penarth Station


Five minutes.

Clawing at the joyless peppermint station pillars,

Flecks of paint brighten the platform at my feet -

Spiralling down like confetti.

You can peel back the gloss and reveal the

Ugly rusted iron underneath.

How quick is oxidisation?

If I turn these coppers thrice

In my hand, I feel they could transform

Into lumps of jade in my pocket.


Seven minutes.

Daisies push their heads through the railway tracks,

Weeds bide their time, growing slowly;

A waking sabotage to claim back the ground.

The green shoots shudder under a windy blanket.

I reciprocate – how perseveringly clings the breeze!  

Caught on the arm of a skeletal bush,

Some tattered and beaten plastic bag is

Waved frightfully as if in surrender –

The impatient consumers triumph.


Eleven minutes.

The footsteps of company echo, uneven and slow.

A pair of battered shoes, corduroys two inches too short,

Ancient pipe bound together with blue tape –

A pipe. I never knew old men actually smoked pipes.

You’d think they only existed in clichés.

A flat cap too, to flatten the silvery hair

All wayward. Knowing smile, something underarm…

He unfolds a chair, sits with a gentle clunk on the platform.

Here’s a man; he knows how to wait. 

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