Guest poem submitted by Tim Cooper:
(Poem #1547) The Railway Children
When we climbed the slopes of the cutting We were eye-level with the white cups Of the telegraph poles and the sizzling wires. Like lovely freehand they curved for miles East and miles west beyond us, sagging Under their burden of swallows. We were small and thought we knew nothing Worth knowing. We thought words travelled the wires In the shiny pouches of raindrops, Each one seeded full with the light Of the sky, the gleam of the lines, and ourselves So infinitesimally scaled We could stream through the eye of a needle.
Your villanelle by Heaney the other day made me think of this almost-sonnet. The more I read it, the more I find in it. The title immediately makes you think of the film and all those images of carefree childhood. The final line perfectly balances the two long "ee" sounds around the long "eye". These open vowel sounds, which here express freedom, and the religious image of the eye of a needle (never exactly equated to the entrance to heaven in the gospels, but the relationship is there to anyone raised in a christian household) give an exhilarating ending. If you now go back to the rest of the poem, you notice the bubbling sounds - "cl - imbed", "sl - opes" "cu - ps", "lo-vely", "sw - allows" "words" "worth". Indeed, all the stressed vowel sounds are short. And then there is the open "a" of "scaled", right at the moment of epiphany, the first time that vowel sound is stressed. Perfect, Tim.