The gulls of Hull
the train pulling out –
a metallic snake
along the estuary
leaving behind
the forceful ghost
of Wilberforce
the confluence
of the Hull and the Humber.
Brough, Selby, Doncaster.
How many times
have I sat this way
England, gazing out
at the leafless names
of trees; at cathedrals
I still haven’t seen –
Our inter-city boa
Pushing through
the deepening night –
the wet black roots
of the country.
Suddenly, for some
unearthly reason,
it falters, then stops –
an inexplicable
paralysis of rhythm –
the brooch of a small
town gleaming
in the distance –
the eels and eels
of branching tracks.

O England –
hedge-bound as Larkin
omnivorous as Shakespeare.

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