Reflections on a Day Out

I set out to visit my son.
I am early
I would rather be
one hour early
than two minutes late.

Negotiate the price
with the girl in the ticket office.
Good job really
I had checked on the options
some time previously.

I bump into a friend
on the station concourse,
haven’t seen each other for some time.
I often think about leaving Leeds
to go live by the sea,
but this sort of random meeting
reminds me of the friendship base
I have established in this city.

I begin to chat to a young student
on the train, from South Wales
studying medicine, she said,
but interested enough in poetry
to key my details into her mobile phone
and look me up on the internet.
She turns the screen toward me,
says that is one of your photos.
I smile, say yes, but wonder
am I more real for her now
than I was just sitting talking.

Conversation expands to include
others at the table. A young girl
from Chile asks me what she should
go see to get an appreciation of Chester.
I recommend walking round the walls.
A lady at the next table intercedes
to suggest the shopping malls
in the town centre.
Whatever turns her on I guess.

I change trains at Manchester,
Enough time for a visit to the loo
and a hasty cigarette.
This is a safety announcement,
due to today’s wet weather
surfaces may be slippy, please
take care when walking in the station
An announcement which I think
has more to do with fear of being sued
than genuine concern for visitors.

A rainbow appears as we
pull out of the station
and cross the motorway.
I am pleased not to be driving today.
I no longer get the pleasure
from driving which I used to.
Too many cars, too much rush.

My son gives me a birthday present.
I don’t think I gave you one at the time
I cannot remember either,
but a birthday present
is acceptable any time of the year.



38 Responses to “Reflections on a Day Out”

  1. seeker of truth Says:

    Smiling, sounds like a more than, lovely day!! I too, hate being late!! LOL I will soon be taking the train across country to California, for Thanksgiving!! Yay, love the train.. Am also taking the 7 year old that I babysit (after 3 years she seem more like family) I will get to seee the country for the first time, through a chil’s eyes!! Should be fun, if a little busy!! Hugs!!

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Thank you Sandy,

      I have no idea how long you will be on the train from where you are to California – my knowledge of the geography of America being very limited. Enjoy the journey – time on a train is like time out. Don’t forget to take your notebook.

      Hugs to you too

  2. Purple Paul Says:

    I like this one, done in a narrative style, has a sense of movement.

  3. A rather mundane day comes alive with the stroke of your pen . . . er .. . fingers. That just goes to illustrate that our ordinary, hum-drum life which we like to shout out that it is boring actually has enough people in it, enough conversation and, yes, even plot to chase away the hum-drum, dontcha thinK?

    • belfastdavid Says:

      I do think so Jerry,

      When we pay attention to the little things there is always a lot going on.

      You have a good day

  4. A most enjoyable reveries. I can well identify with yuor thoughts as well as your travels-I know the stations & places you mentioned so well. (:

  5. David.
    I to am traveling right now. My first two trips on this cross country journey have been by bus. First on a tour bus with 31 friends to participate in a week long mission for Church World Servicies. Very blessed to have been there. Then on to a one day adventure on public bus. Had to sit outside in cold chilling wind for 3 1/2 hrs as first transfer station only open for incoming/outgoing buses for 30 minute arrival/departure times. Very inconvienient when you have to use loo or get a drink. Rest of ride from MD to NJ was pleasent, fall colors at their height. One small 1/2 hr delay on freeway when traffic backed up because of a wreck. I had a very interesting seatmate on the last leg of my journey from the UK whom about shall have to write poem. Am here at my daughters for 2 days. Shall be taking a rental car to upper NY from here to visit another daughter and family, do some volunteer work with children on reservation for a week and then leave car at airport and travel by plane to TX for a few weeks. I expect to have loads of adventures…****Liked your journey poem very much

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Enjoy your journeying Clarice.

      I do hope you will write about some of your experiences and share them with us. The autumn colours are entrancing here too.
      I am sympathetic at your having to sit outside – one of the disadvantages of public transport. However I find nowadays I prefer travelling that way if I have long distances to go. Although I cannot realistically get to Whitby by train so my next journey there will have to be by car.

      Take care David

  6. I love bite size interactions like those in this poem.

    I enjoy writing while on the train ride from Chicago to Kansas City.

  7. Wonderful write David. I loved it. Felt like I was there on the train with you. Perhaps a round trip next time? Blessings, Susan

  8. Shopping Malls? Please. They have become generic all over the world.

  9. the only thing cooler would have been to really be along on the trip! you do make it seem nearly so

  10. You took me on this trip with you David and that says much for your writing.


  11. Pleasant smile, all the way through, but I like the exchange and realization with the medical student especially. I have the same experience with my wife and stepson. Until they see their reality confirmed on the internet, it holds very little fascination for them.

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Thank you Pat,

      It struck me as bizarre at the time Pat. Do I not exsist if I am not on the internet? And, if you delete me from the internet do I disappear?


  12. Hi David,

    This was a most lovely poem and it was lovely to spend the day with you through your journey to your son. Your ending lines made me smile. 🙂
    The imagery you’ve penned is so clear I could easily slip into your world next to you.

    I was very struck with your journey. All the parts making the whole of an experiance that leaves lasting impressions along the way.
    I personally would prefer the walking around the walls of Chester to the malls. horrible places!
    The medicine student struck me the most. It really shows you how much we are changing as a society that things and people especially seem to have more relevance through a screen.

    It’s been a few years since I’ve been on a train. I used to catch them quite regualry and I enjoyed the interactions I had.
    This poem bought back good memories for me of travel and the joy of destinations too and it’s always a pleasure to share a part of your world through your words.

    Thankyou for sharing this piece.
    Take care
    All my best to you and yours.

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Hi Tikarma,

      I do enjoy it when I am in a good enough place to make the most of journeys. Too much of my life was spent in dark places so it is good to take pleasure from the simple things. The longer I am around the more I find that the real world offers much more to entertain me than fiction ever could.

      I am glad too that I brought back good memories for you and that you felt you were sharing the journey with me. That is a lovely compliment to the poem. Thank you. You would have been delightful company on the journey. 🙂

      And just to reassure us both – I know I am real today because I am on the internet comminicating with you!!

      You take good care

  13. David,

    For me, this poem says more about your personality, and how you experience life, than it does about your train ride.

    You had me smiling from the first verse. I could see the punctual Irishman checking his watch, and congratulating himself on being early enough to get a good seat and a fair price.

    While reading the third verse, I could feel the warmth in your pleasure of knowing you were in a good place in your life. That is an important comfort, especially for someone who is a tiny bit OCD. *grin* Besides, Whitby, and places like it (I know you think there IS no place like it) are more special when they are not an everyday experience.

    I felt your pleasure when the girl showed an interest in your poetry, and your eagerness to help someone experience the same enjoyment you found in a city. You likely sighed and did an I’ll-try-to-be-patient-with-this mental tongue click (“I am right here in front of you!”) when she looked on the internet to see that you are really you, and a shopping mall was rated better than a pleasurable walk along a scenic path!?

    I especially like the lifting of mood, which starts with being liberated from the confines of a train car, and treated to a rainbow, and an unexpected present–though it is clear your pleasure is mostly in the enjoyment of the good company you have at journey’s end. It illustrates the way you always try to save the best part of any journey to memory–what is mentioned last is what stays to mind.

    This poem is just the way I would have imagined you, on a day trip, on a train. *smile*

    Take care of yourself,

    • belfastdavid Says:


      Good to see you back and reading again.
      You are right – the poem is really about me and how I find life around me. It is my pleasure to be able to interact with it in this way and to enjoy it.
      “A tiny bit OCD”? Me??? *Grin*
      And yes, the best bit of the day out was the time I spent with my son and his wife.

      I do intend to make more use of the train in the future. There is much to see in this country and from where I live there are frequent trains to a lot of places.

      You take good care of yourself


  14. Leeza Coleman Says:

    I enjoy a narrative read like this, with the details. Your telling was engaging. I was disappointed when you arrived and ended the narrative. I hoped we were going to hear about the entire day, although I don’t know how I could have expected that since I could see where the end came! Nice!

  15. christine Says:

    I said to you last week that for me reading your poetry creates a feelng of being on a train journey; of wanting it to go on and on and on… So this poem carries that feeling further.

    I envy your ability to do this narrative form so well.

    You and I have only been on short train journeys together. We must do a long one sometime.

    Lots of love



    • belfastdavid Says:


      Life is all about journey Christine. It is up to us where we go and who we have for company. 🙂

      Lots of love


  16. Human interaction is the greatest gift…

  17. diane arthur Says:

    How I love this poem – its conversational tone – after my own heart

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Thank you Diane,

      I have been playing with conversational narrative poems – inspired partly by going to see Carol Ann Duffy read. It is a different discipline and quite good fun really

  18. Peter Doyle Says:

    You will indeed dissappear if I delete you from the internet David, but nodoubt you will shine on elsewhere. : )

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