Verse > Siegfried Sassoon > The Old Huntsman and Other Poems

Siegfried Sassoon (1886–1967).  The Old Huntsman and Other Poems.  1918.

38. Morning Express

ALONG the wind-swept platform, pinched and white, 
The travellers stand in pools of wintry light, 
Offering themselves to morn’s long, slanting arrows. 
The train’s due; porters trundle laden barrows. 
The train steams in, volleying resplendent clouds         5
Of sun-blown vapour. Hither and about, 
Scared people hurry, storming the doors in crowds. 
The officials seem to waken with a shout, 
Resolved to hoist and plunder; some to the vans 
Leap; others rumble the milk in gleaming cans.  10
Boys, indolent-eyed, from baskets leaning back, 
Question each face; a man with a hammer steals 
Stooping from coach to coach; with clang and clack 
Touches and tests, and listens to the wheels. 
Guard sounds a warning whistle, points to the clock  15
With brandished flag, and on his folded flock 
Claps the last door: the monster grunts: ‘Enough!’ 
Tightening his load of links with pant and puff. 
Under the arch, then forth into blue day, 
Glide the processional windows on their way,  20
And glimpse the stately folk who sit at ease 
To view the world like kings taking the seas 
in prosperous weather: drifting banners tell 
Their progress to the counties; with them goes 
The clamour of their journeying; while those  25
Who sped them stand to wave a last farewell. 



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