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Poem: Please Mind the Gap

Books & Poetry

Observations and thoughts on a train ride are the inspiration for this week’s Poet’s Corner contribution from Phil Saunders.

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Please Mind the Gap

Blackwood 7:43: Adelaide Journey #45

A small crowd awaits,
not the madding crowds from other places and times.
My pleasant journey playing commuter
but to medical appointments not toil.
Then Coromandel: that’s more like a crowd.
Trees tall enough at first then bushy
are more pleasing on the eye, serene and contemplative
than the towers of other places,
every station a construction site;
though cleaning the windows a touch more often
would enhance the viewing experience.
Commands for minding the gap and being polite
infiltrate the contemplation.

Are those sunglasses prescription?
Is there something about the ride
that requires a hidden place in a carriage of others?
The phones, books, coffee, hipster beards and cut of hair
and headphones I understand, but sunglasses inside?

And there, yes it is,
amidst the new casualness of office attire: a tie,
a bold burgundy with neat squares for pattern.

The trees and shrubs covering the backyards as they do,
not hiding them as such but denying a view
of the culturally rich tapestry of people’s lives.
Then, out of the lines of greenness
a snippet of the tired warehouse ugliness,
the long Showground fence,
the flats rising three – no, four – levels
and a singular overhead walkway.

A breath,
a clear blue sky on this day,
the sun through the window its warm rays a balm
before the final stretch of hospital vastness,
its fellow creatures of academic and health pursuit
and the cavern of the last stop
and its associated bustle of escape.

Phil Saunders has been based in Adelaide since high school days, with forays into Melbourne, Christchurch and Sydney. He works as a consultant in governance and operations quality control, particularly in aged and disability care, has written for advertising agencies and community-based organisations, and with poetry as a creative outlet has had work performed on ABC Radio.

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to poetscorner@solsticemedia.com.au. Submissions should be in the body of the email, not as attachments. A poetry book will be awarded to each accepted contributor.

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