So here it stands, unmoving, unmovable, aged,
Rusting, decaying, ramshackle, decrepit, forlorn,
Uncoupled, abandoned then salvaged…pathetic.
This sad-looking coach is what’s left from an erstwhile
Splendid and fully operational train service
That ran along rails most of which have long since
Been removed and replaced with roads.
Heartbreaking ‘tis for me to see this coach,
A relic from the past, from a golden age of locomotion;
From my past in the fifties and sixties when as a child
I watched it chug along through my village of Cassis,
Then an all too familiar sight and sound. But little
Did we know then that its days were numbered.
Now, like old King Hamlet’s ghost, it’s there to remind
Us of a wrongful deed that needs to be put right.
Put right? This just seems to be wishful thinking.
To restore main line services sadly appears to be stuff
Of fairy tales: The fairy waves her magic wand
And, hey presto, the original coach reappears, not
Perhaps to joyfully take us all to the midnight ball,
But to relieve the awful lung-busting traffic
Congestion that’s slowly suffocating our roads.
Wishful thinking indeed, but sadly this is all we have.
Many roads have replaced the rails, just as
Herbage now occupies broad swathes of rain forests;
Both acts being a curse to human health.
Now lots of scratching of heads and wondering what to do.
Yes, it’s true those trains would have been replaced;
Innovations, developmental progression,
They all are part and parcel of modernization.
To Mauritius, this coach, like the Dodo, is extinct,
Consigned to a museum as a historical artefact
To reminisce on or as a zoo item for gawking at.
Sadly, foresight in the safeguard of this valuable,
Essential national asset in the interest of future
Generations appeared to have been deficient.
Still, this coach is what we have; so let’s treasure it.
My grandmother was old, wizened but adorable
And I loved her and miss her, just as I miss this coach.
Will its likes reappear some day? We’ll wait and see.
If for mammoths, that vanished along with a lost world,
To make a comeback hope exists through work
On its DNA, then surely for locomotion too that almost
Everywhere else on earth abounds this should be the case.