Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The Last Tram

Almost out of breath
for I've run like hell
to catch the last tram
of the night
I flop into the last vacant seat

I'm travelling to the end station
a new destination
it's out of the city

doors flip open
a cold draught rushes in
flip closed

when people get off
they take warmth with them

nobody gets on
and the stops get further apart

and after a while
I'm the only one left
except of course for the driver
hurtling through the darkness
of the forest
where we now are

but after a while
the tram slows
and there's the familiar announcement
"Final station, would all passengers
please disembark"
and the tram stops

at the terminus
where the only light to be seen
is the dull yellow glow in the driver's cab

and so I go forward
to ask for directions to the house of my friend
but there's nobody there
there's only his coat



  1. Really enjoyed this tram ride, the poem had a real tram rhythm. And the 2 short stanzas 'if people get off they take warmth with them' and 'nobody gets on and the stops get further apart'.

  2. Thank you Gordon. As you can see I got home safely in the end :)

  3. A dream? It has the feel of a classic ghost story...I may be thinking of "A Visitor from Down Under".

  4. By the sound of it you would need his coat to get warmed up again!

    Thanks for the download - have done one for Joan too. I would love a poetry book if you have one to spare (Dominic would like one too I suspect although at present he is too busy to do much blogging)and you could send them both to me and I would pass it on. Is there any way I can reimburse you for the postage. Thank you for going to all the trouble of collecting them and printing them out. Love

  5. Susan,
    the poem stands as pure metaphor for our final destination (i.e. death) as in where we are going and how we are going to get there, but it wasn't a dream - at least not as far as I know. But then like most people I don't remember all my dreams, only the last one before waking up normally, so it could be a dream. I couldn't rule that out.

  6. Pat, I will send 3 books, one for each of you, you can fight over them :) - but you'll have to e-mail me your postal address again.

  7. Pat, I should add, re the coat in the poem - there's an ambiguity there so you don't know which coat it is - and there's also a trick where you can detect the point at which 'the driver' vanished if you close read it again.

  8. Nice sense of being whittled down to a state of loneliness - I like slightly unsettling stories set on public transport in the dark (usually 50s-ish SF)!

    Poetry 2010! Great what a bit of synergy can do! I hope lots of people download it now...

    One small typo - could you possibly add an "s" to my "tree" in The Last Days?


  9. Sorry... Reading that back I notice I seem to have caught exclamationitis!!!!

  10. Thanks for stopping by. I've clicked on the star and collected your collection. I haven't read them all but have enjoyed it so far. Particularly that fox. What a good idea. I've been talking with John H. about the sad state of poetry distribution these days and you've given us a good example of the time honoured way of doing it - give it away. Thanks for a good read.

  11. I love the atmosphere of your poem and the interesting end. Great poem

  12. Gerald,
    thanks, I'm pleased you do.

    I've added an 's' to 'tree'. Thanks for your synergy. And also (I must say) I always enjoy your exclamations!

  13. Marja,
    Thank you. The end of the poem is as it is because 96% of the universe consists of what quantum physics calls dark matter. We cannot look into this dark matter but we know for sure that it is there. That being the case there could be, to make up that 96% figure, 24 other universes each the size of our own existing in parallel, unseen but nevertheless existing. A tram runs on parallel lines into a dark forest. At the end of the line is an empty coat, perhaps our friend's (our spirit's) or the driver; Creator, Controller, Guide, or whatever your preferred word is). I could go on and on, pull the whole poem to bits, but that's briefly the general thinking behind the ending part.

  14. Mairi, thanks for your comment on the fox and on the collection in general. I think it's a wonderful thing what a dozen or so internet poets can do when they come together - and from all over the world - India to Scandinavia - and some not even writing their first language. It's quite remarkable really. And what's more, as you say, all for free - giving it away.
    The reason I did this was because one of the last poetry books I bought in a shop was Seamus Heaney's 'District and Circle' in 2007 and it cost me nine pounds gbp which when I came to read it I found was it like a swiss cheese. For example here's a full poem on a full page:
    In a Loaming
    Spoken for in autumn, recovered speech/Having its way again, I gave a cry:/'Not beechen green, but these shin-deep coffers/Of copper-fired leaves, these beech boles grey.
    When I read "shin-deep coffers" it came into my mind that I was one of the idiots filling them. In fact there are even poems in there with less words also being honoured with a full page. And so I have stopped paying the full price for establishment poetry books. When Martin Holroyd produced my book he wanted to charge 6.50p but I insisted it had to be done at the lowest cost and so after some discussion we got it down to 5.25p and Martin's only at Poetry Monthly, he has not the resources of faber&faber.

  15. I'm reading a book of ghost stories just now (not my usual reading choice, a review copy) and so I'm in tune with this kind of story. I like the ambiguity at the end. Nicely done.

  16. Thanks Jim,
    I look forward to reading your review of the ghost story book having had a couple of ghostly experiences over the years.

  17. An unexpected ending. It turned around the entire fun ride for me.

  18. Mike, thanks for comment. Appreciated.


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