ALONG the wind-swept platform pinched and white
The travellers stand in pools of wintry light
Offering themselves to morn¡¯s long slanting arrows.
The train¡¯s due; porters trundle laden barrows.
The train steams in volleying resplendent clouds 5
Of sun-blown vapour.
Hither and about
Scared people hurry storming the doors in crowds.
The officials seem to waken with a shout
Resolved to hoist and plunder; some to the vans
Leap; others rumble the milk in gleaming cans.
Boys indolent-eyed from baskets leaning back
Question each face; a man with a hammer steals
Stooping from coach to coach; with clang and clack
Touches and tests and listens to the wheels.
Guard sounds a warning whistle points to the clock 15
With brandished flag and on his folded flock
Claps the last door: the monster grunts: ¡®Enough!¡¯
Tightening his load of links with pant and puff.
Under the arch then forth into blue day
Glide the processional windows on their way 20
And glimpse the stately folk who sit at ease
To view the world like kings taking the seas
in prosperous weather: drifting banners tell
Their progress to the counties; with them goes
The clamour of their journeying; while those 25
Who sped them stand to wave a last farewell.
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