Commute Recall

The Morning Tube


Queuing at the ticket office

While eternity passes by

Then running through the barriers

Under the ticket collector’s baleful eye,

The gathering on the platform

Waits with bated breath

For a train to carry them southwards

And down into the depths


Observers of indicators

Read the story in lights

Of the next train coming

Bank or Charing Cross…We will be…

If it doesn’t come… soon

For every second brings more passengers…

All of them trained to be

Observers of indicators – don’t you see?


A rumble announcing

the train is here

The driver looking forwards

with a vacant stare

doors slide open

revealing seats…all gone

we’re going to have to shove

if we want to get on


Pushing, squeezing

Mind the doors please

Stabbed in the knee with a brolly

hope he isn’t KGB

Commuters sharing briefcase bruises

Mementoes of the daily rush

As every week becomes five days

Of going to work in a crush


Standing…Pressed into a corner

Someone’s paper scraping an ear

Armpits wrinkling noses

With yesterday’s sweat

And last night’s beer

Heel to heel, toe to toe

The daily square dance

Off we go


Then suddenly…It’s our stop!

Open the doors, let us off

The escalators carry the

Dancing feet

Of breath-starved commuters

Desperate for the street

Where the air seems fresh

And the fumes are sweet


Commuters - Aldgate Station
Commuters - Aldgate Station

Martin Addison, 08/07/2011
The reference to the KGB recalls the assasination of Georgi Markov with poison administered by an umbrella though it is believed to have been the work of the Bulgarian Secret Service.


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