Hidden Histories project for Exeter University

A poem about Totnes railway station and Sean O’Casey’s contribution to it.

He lived in Totnes near the station from 1938-1954 

 

Sean O’Casey’s Pond   

 

The train is late,
heat tricks along the lines.
We sit resigned.We are
British and this our rail,
our station, which received
one bomb during the war.
Its casualty was a man sitting
in the waiting room. A direct hit. 
Our station, with its white picket fence,
its chiming bells and apologies
and a pigeon coddling her brood
in the rafters and the lily pond
on platform two, placed there by
Sean O’Casey during his sojourn
in Totnes, and happy chance that
he did, the pond with its goldfish
and several lily flowers and its
water boatmen, is a small eye
to borrowed heaven, reflecting
the sky, the hovering damsel-fly
and our peering faces.
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Snakebasket South West

poem of the
month

The Keeper of the Clock of the Long Now

I am the Keeper of the Clock of the Long Now.
A slow job, it leaves me with plenty of time
to contemplate my short life with its many
twists and turns which I have introduced
in order to entertain myself so I will not
be bored with the straight running of it.
Breath by breath.
Sometimes I forget it is I who has
filled up my life.
Then I sigh and call out
wishing to be free.
The clock is a help then.
It turns its silent face to me
and says nothing.
It is a clock of wonder
measuring Long Time.
It ticks once a year
chimes once a century.
Who knows what it will do at the
passing of a millennium.
It may laugh.
Rose Cook