Last night I thought about the last time I went to a gig. It was with my daughter for her 15th birthday last year. We both enjoyed it however for her it was particularly special as it was the first time she saw Dodie live. Dodie is her first music love. Memories of the night have not faded, unfortunately not just because of Dodies’ performance. On the way home someone took their life, by jumping onto the track that our train was travelling along at a high speed.
We were in the train all night talking to passengers and the driver of the train. The driver , it turned out was an ex-serviceman and this was not his first suicide experience. He explained the process that would hold us here for a few hours and him for a month at home. His tone was somber but it cracked when someone asked him how he coped. “Music”, he said “I am a musician”.
I sat holding my daughters hand and watching the other passengers, occasionally chipping at their conversation which was slow and stunted. Everyone revealed something of their nature that night, myself included, some of it good , some of it sad.
When we got home we lit a candle for the person who died. We didn’t know anything about them but we both felt the despair of someone so unhappy and scared that their actions that night were the only option for them.
This is the poem I wrote shortly afterwards.
This was the day that run on time.
On this present tour you are in between five enemies,
acting now in the service of the train operator,
Here you can only muster the occasional control,
As when push comes to shove,
and in the absence of either,
you are ordered to stare into the face of death,
and wait for its hold to slow us down.
How many times have people sought the tranquility of the track gauge?
Like a stinger thrown down,
a persistent thought, a heavy sadness straddles the track.
In tonight’s delay, our shared experience,
Cast us into a cell, where we share our crimes
Him for his infidelity,
Her for getting drunk with her teenage daughter
Him for being so drunk he cannot remember
And her , for her lack of support,
myself, standing on the outside of who i am.
It is hard to imagine why you, so delicate and wise are here,
Your presence is an anchor,
You allow a vestige of times normal velocity
running life towards a station on the main line
in waves of emotion heralded as the Driver and
His guitar walk off the platform to only he knows where,
After the train took life from the track.