Saturday 7 August 2010

A handful of stone

My little poem about waiting for the train at the Charing Cross Station one afternoon in March is published on the lovely A Handful of Stones today (Tuesday 4th May, 2010). According to editor Fiona Robyn, 'a small stone is a polished moment of paying proper attention.'

The poem has a second part, which I didn't send to Fiona. In the second part, I imagine myself taking this miraculous train (it 'breaks the March sun ... like a devious God') to meet a visitor who has come to London, 'accidentally', to meet me:

I took it to meet my accidental visitor
whose name I cannot remember but do not forget.
(What's wrong with my name? He asked)
He visited me but was met.
I was visited but visited too.
(Nothing’s wrong. I keep it in my heart.)

I am generally intrigued by the thought that sometimes when you are visited by someone, you also need to take the effort to 'go out' and meet the visitor (literally and metaphorically). Indeed, both parties need to make the effort, although most only think that the person who is visiting is the 'traveller', the person who sacrifices. This is especially complicated if the one being visited is not really 'at home' where she is (she may be studying abroad?) but has to show her temporary 'home' to friends and family as if it is her own.

In the first part of the poem, the bewildered situation did happen in real life. Not that hard to believe, right? It is London and trains are not reliable, although I am not sure if other people also considered that single train 'devious'. I want to convey through the experience that every journey, even an apparently small one (for example, from Charing Cross to London Bridge) could be difficult. Something unexpected could happen. Or something marvellous. Don't take anything for granted: if your friend manages to meet you on a train platform, no matter how close that platform is to her 'home', applaud her. After all, she steps outside the comfort of 'home' to meet you. Otherwise, this may happen.

I have previously shown this poem to a friend who will be visiting me (on his way to another part of the UK) from France later this month (I will be in London then to meet him). How nice it is that the poem is published in the same month. I look forward to the meeting very much. I was also going to meet a friend from Hong Kong in June. Unfortunately, my trip back home that month means that we won't be meeting in London.

(This post was originally written on May 4, 2010.)

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