Down at the Bus Station

Like most people enthusiastic about writing poetry, I suppose, I spend a lot of time pondering on what to write about next.  Long stretches of time go by when no subjects seem to suggest themselves, and I start desperately hoping for “my muse” to come into action.  Occasionally, however, I undergo an experience that simply demands to be written about, and “Down at the Bus Station” was generated by one of those experiences.

All my working life I had problems simply getting to work and back every day.  These problems were largely self-inflicted, due to the fact that I – stupidly – never learned to drive, and could never seem to find work anywhere near to where I lived.  The very worst time happened, a few years ago, when the only way I could get to work was by getting up at 4.30 a.m. and walking a mile to the bus station to catch the six o’clock bus.  An hour-long journey on the bus was followed by a further twenty minute walk, before I finally arrived at work.  This routine was repeated, morning and evening, five days a week, during a freezing-cold winter.  The poem is, basically, a heartfelt lament that virtually wrote itself one of those bleak, wintry mornings, as I stood waiting for the bus in a virtually deserted bus station.

Down at the Bus Station:

It’s cold; so cold.  Black as the Ace of Spades.
I’m miserable as sin; in a pit of Hades.
Bereft of hope, shivering, yawning.
Down at the bus station; six in the morning.

The journey to work; a torment, a trial.
Time eked out, so slowly, mile after mile.
A daily dilemma; a journey too far.
I should have learned how to drive a car.
But there is no option; no other resort.
I must rely, for my sins, on public transport.

A small café-bar emits a dingy light.
Like all else here, an unappealing sight.
The woman there laughs; a hoarse, rasping sound.
My spirits sink further; seep into the ground.

Population sparse; a total of three.
Woman at café, a down and out, and me.
The tramp has a shaggy beard, greasy, matted hair.
His eyes roll and fix me with an insane glare.
Stillness, silence; who knows what happens next?
We are all figures in a Samuel Beckett text.

The hand you are given; the cards you play.
The forces that steer you, or stand in your way.
I fought my corner; I had my say.
I still ended up where I am, today.
Stripped of illusion; resigned to my fate.
My daily journey to a job I hate.
Bereft of hope; shivering, yawning.
Down at the bus station; six in the morning.


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