Roger Stevens - "The Secret Life of a Poet"
Man Hits Train
Man Hits Train
It was a special day in the poet’s calendar, National Poetry Day. I was on my way to visit a school near Regent’s Park, in London. The train from Brighton to London was late and I was worried that I wouldn’t get to the school on time. Then I had a most peculiar and action-packed tube journey.
I boarded the tube at Victoria underground station. It was only a few stops to Regent’s Park and so I thought I would just about make it on time. But the tube train sat in the station for ages. Eventually, the driver announced that the delay was due to a man hitting a train further down the line.
I thought this was very odd. Usually, I thought, a train would (usually tragically) hit a person, not the other way round. I imagined a train going past and a man leaning over and slapping it. “Take that,” he’d say. “You naughty, naughty train!”
Eventually we started up and I glanced at my watch. I might still get to the school on time.
But we hadn’t gone much further when the train stopped – in a tunnel. The driver announced that as it was National Poetry Day, every passenger had to share a poem with everyone else in their carriage. I recited a haiku because, as you know, they are very short. A couple of passengers didn’t know any poems (hard to believe I know) and I thought we would soon be moving again. But then a tall guy with long dreadlocks stood up and began reciting a rap poem. He was very good. We all kept the beat by stamping on the floor and clapping. But the poem went on for ages and ages and I knew now that I would surely be late.
We finally got moving again and we were nearly there – when the train stopped once more.
“I’m really very sorry for the delay,” the driver said, “but there has been an incident. A zebra has escaped from its enclosure at London Zoo and run into the tube station. It scrambled down the escalator and is running around in the tunnel somewhere, but we don’t know exactly where.”
Well, that was it. Now I knew I would be late for sure. We waited for about five minutes until the driver announced, “I’m sorry, we’ll be here just a little longer, but we hope to have the situation under control soon. We’ve sent a lion into the underground tunnel to catch the zebra.”
I finally reached the school about half an hour late. Before I gave my poetry performance I apologised and told everyone why I was late. They all clapped. They thought I’d made it up! Especially the bit about a man hitting a train.
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A huge thank you to Roger Stevens for his guest blog!