Paul Farley

Image by Caroline Forbes

A Tunnel

A Tunnel

A tunnel, unexpected. The carriage lights
we didn't notice weren't on prove their point
and a summer's day is cancelled out, its greens
and scattered blue, forgotten in an instant

that lasts the width of a down, level to level,
a blink in London to Brighton in Four Minutes
that dampens mobiles - conversations end
mid-sentence, before speakers can say

'...a tunnel' - and the train fills with the sound
of itself, the rattle of rolling stock amplified,
and in the windows' flue a tool-shed scent,
metal on metal, a points-flash photograph,

and inside all of this a thought is clattering
in a skull inside the train inside the tunnel
inside great folds of time, like a cube of chalk
in a puncture-repair tin at a roadside

on a summer day like the one we'll re-enter
at any moment, please, at any moment.
Voices are waiting at the other end
to pick up where we left off. 'It was a tunnel...'

from The Ice Age (Picador, 2002), copyright © Paul Farley 2002, used by permission of the author


Paul Farley

Paul Farley Reading from his poems

1From A Weekend First



4Papal Visit

5Dead Fish

6Not Fade Away

7A Minute's Silence

8Diary Moon


10Big Safe Themes

1111th February 1963



14Without Potatoes





19Phone Books

20A Thousand Hours

21The Sleep of Estates

22The Barber's Lull


24A Tunnel

25Laws of Gravity