Model Railway Club, Staines

Peter Redgrove

Hobbyists by the river
Under the cold hairy willows,
In peaked caps and faded railway overalls
And astride saddle-sized model trains,
Chug under bare willow wickerwork gilded by winter sun
Puffing more white steam than their crib-sized engines.
Even the dog-shit is happy among these frosty hobbyists,
Lying down as is its wont
Like shed pelt of a ginger kind
Tightly wound like secretive baskets
Or submitting cleated to our boots.
We share sunshine with the model trains,
Priming a firebox with a car battery,
Tossing in chips of fossil sunlight that flash
In today’s noon, returning shine,
Tending the railway like children
Tending it with pieces of guttering sunshine that are coal
Under a songbird’s rainbow spectrum
Of sound in which we hear the colour named ‘thrush’ alone;
And one happy chap bends and snaps off a chip
Of frosted shit and tosses it into his furnace
Astride his iron pony glittering sunlight
Under the frosty wickerwork, Sunday bright.