a ride on the St Albans line

stifling heat and open windows
torn green-leather seats with stuffing removed
kids parked in the doorways
daringly keeping the doors open
leaning against one
holding feet against the other

heads protrude from the swaying wooden carriages
quickly withdrawn
at the unsubtle approach of a steel pylon
too far away to do damage
too close not to flinch

lasting architectural impressions
of the nineteen seventies western suburbs
drawn from the fleet glimpses of unkempt backyards
and squalid loading bays of shops and small factories
that line the fringes of the tracks
there must be a rule in town-planning guidebooks
that one ‘Station Street’ must be assigned
to every suburb along the route

the inter-suburban ‘red-rattler’
bullock-dances its way down the St Albans line
all change
this is the last stop
catch a bus if you want to go
to Sunbury

© Frank Prem, 2002

This piece is taken from an unpublished set of poems reflecting on change over time in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne. This was an area that was turned into suburbs back in the 1950’s or thereabouts and accommodated the waves of European migration into Australia. It was know as a ‘New Australian’ area, filled with ‘wogs’ and other such unflattering names.

I knew the area as a youngster from visiting with family, and revisited as an up and coming Project Officer in the Department of Health in the late 1990’s and thereabouts.

Other poems in the set may appear (or not). Here’s one: reverse parking at three thirty.

8 thoughts on “a ride on the St Albans line

  1. Pleasing descriptive verse. You’ve got some very good poetry on your blog. I’m impressed. You may like to take a look at some of my own poems. Mostly the rhyming sort though. Perhaps not your style? Rolandsragbag.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Roland. Glad you’ve enjoyed visiting. I’ll pop over and look at some of your work when I get a chance.

      You’re right, though, that rhyming verse is not generally my cup of tea. There’s room for all, though.




  2. The thing that is so interesting about train travel is getting to see the backs of houses and shops and businesses. It is the side that is not prepared for public view. I take a train into Toronto sometimes and see the back yards and loading docks. Not exactly like what you describe but it did remind me of this. Thanks for another evocative poem.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.