“The next train to depart from platform one will be the
12:27 to Leeds
Calling at Mytholmroyd, Sowerby Bridge, Halifax, Bradford
Interchange, New Pudsey and Leeds.”
The contralto’s opening recitative
sends ‘shivers down my spine.’
This platform change has me running Prestissimo beneath the bridge
passage synching my pulse to the finale of the William Tell Overture.
I slip for a moment on the wet cobbles but manage to avoid a
fully fledged glissando,
Runup the stairs
in whole steps and, with the leap of a tritone, like the Devil I jump
The iron Lion
growls and lets out a roar as this Carnival
of human Animals settles back in
its seat to enjoy this Short Ride in a
The Water Music to
our left softly serenades with Tales from
While the Ash Grove
placidly sits on the hillside above soulfully singing Dido’s Lament over a ground
bass provided bylowing cows.
Below me Mytholmroyd church still manages to keep its asymmetrical
head above water
But with much more rain it’ll become La
But for now in these green quilted fields Sheep May Safely Graze
Farther along the valley abandoned factories resound to the
rhythm of Bolero
As ghosts perform a Danse
Macabre on the skeletal remains of neglected buildings.
Through a dense mist of atonal
fog Britten’s Night Mail performs
an accelerando through the entire Four Seasons
Coming at last to a rest in Winter at Sowerby Bridge
Where the platform is humming to the Waltz of the Flowers as Eidelweiss
pirouttes with Roses from the South
But at this time of year all respectable Bumble Bees have already taken Flight.
Continuing at a tempo
moderato the train goes ‘past cotton grass and moorland boulder’ and
Rows of saw-toothed weaving sheds climax in Halifax’s
As, through the rustling leaves of Der Lindenbaum, I glimpse The
Heading over Coley viaduct staccato raindrops bounce on Satie’s umbrellas keeping dry the
heads of men intently involved in Le Golf
As, high above them, marching with Pomp and Circumstance, huge pylons stomp across the course con moto like Martian fighting machines.
At length a dolce phrase
from a Bach Suite greets our arrival
After Eight in Halifax, home to Mackintosh and Quality Street.
And several crochets
climb aboard accompanied by small quavers
stoically holding hands.
They scale the half steps and jump eagerly onto the two lined staff stretching
across the page
While white haired minims
and legless semibreves prop up the bar.
Subito, we plunge into
the blackness of the Hall of the Mountain
orchestrated Catacombs lurk at ever diminishing intervals
“Where’s our Lux Aeterna
when we need one?” I ask the ripieno
gathered around me
‘But answer came there none’
For a grand pause
was written into the score and everyone was silent.
Back under the Nuages
Gris and ever onward past Jardins sous la pluie
We pause for a brief fermata
at Bradford station
Where the train suddenly goes into retrograde motion for the remainder of the trip.
As we make a controlled ritardando
into New Pudsey
The vast expanse of Asda’s car park is revealed as a Land of Hope and Glory
Wherein ‘the machine
of a dream’ vies for space with the lyrics of Queen.
Ponies scatter on the sodden field dreaming of a life in the
sun in Copland’s Rodeo
While at the Major’s poultry farm I spy a Ballet of Unhatched Chicks
Caused by a sharp cat
wandering into the flat yard
And causing havoc in The
Hut on Hen’s Legs.
“Oh puss, get out”
I cry to myself, sotto voce,
But my voice is lost in a cacophony of cell phones
As aleatoric pings
Come Together in a final cadenza
Heralding not The
Arrival of the Queen of Sheba into Leeds railway station
But a Fanfare for the