Wichel

The home is approved
in outline, in plan. It takes
years to colour in.

Down from the old line,
sunk in clay: parcels of land,
projecting the plain.

The rail was broken
off the branch, leaving this track,
embankment and bed.

Worked open by locks,
the cut dried out, scored into
sunken carriageways.

Slowing the motors:
a canal that will not move,
this standing water.

There was nothing here,
nothing, not for the children,
they weren’t in the plan.

A bridge to nowhere,
abandoned to a wide-skied
wondering boyhood.

Between the junctions,
a new four-lane relief road,
empty of traffic.

Still wrapped, the stop lights
and idle rubble: lost maps
of Middle Wichel.

The new settlement
starts without us. We won’t live
to see it finished.

We could walk out there,
take stock: the fens filling in,
the sky building up.

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