South Bound Train – Vincent Edward Manda

If something was never yours to begin with
Do you just let it be on its way?

There are those who say
That if it never was
Then it never can be.
Like a river
Rushing towards a waterfall;
That single liquid body with enough power
To cut down all,

Will arrive at the break in the earth;
A break of its own making
That place on the edge
With a sudden drop,

All the way down
To the rocks below
It will fall, a – crashing and a – thundering,
Misting before your eyes,
Foaming at its jagged base
Like an angry god of old

Making you wonder
What those bleary figures you always see
Wandering in the rain
Beyond the glass of your
Ten Oh five south bound train are?

Some particles of that river,
Feeling as though
They never belonged,
Will escape into the air
And continue their journey home

Leaving the river far behind,
Disguising themselves
As storm clouds
Gathering over
An unwitting sailor lost at sea.

Still, some might say
Like a river running out to sea;
All its water carrying but one plea
Rampaging forcefully
Eroding the earth and
Cutting down mountains,
The whole river
Will abruptly break up into two.
One part aberrantly
Meandering from the body
To form streams, canals and new rivers of its own.

All in the hope
Of finding the sea,
All with the dream
Of making it back home.

Yet sometimes
When a river breaks up
The one which remained,
Or even broke away,
Can find that it has ravaged
Too many mountains and
Carried the weight of too much sand,

That with the sun beating upon it relentlessly,
The river will choke
And in that build up of silt
It will find itself
Wishing for another way home.

Now, though you and I
Are mostly water,
We are not rivers.

You and I
Are just people searching the world over
For a place we need not shiver,
A home where we can share
The most pleasant quivers.

In that old station
We were meant to meet
And together wait
For that ten Oh five south bound train
To take us over the rails,
Following the rivers
And circumventing the seas.

That ten Oh five south bound train
To chase our dreams
And catch them all.

But ten Oh six was a little too late.
I never got to take a hold of you
And on that mid morning train
Make you mine.

I only have one question left
If you were the river
What would you do?
Would you let yourself be transformed
Into an area of arid land,
Like the legendary rivers of old tales
Silted to their necks with heavy sand?

Or would you try for the morrow’s
Ten O’ five
South bound train?


his name rhymes with ‘mince’. He’s rarely without a notebook and can usually be found next to the closest bottle of red wine. Previously a writer for The Roehampton Lane Journal.

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