pugilistic pistons pumping


  • black nose bulleting, vivid livery: apple green,
    Flying Scotsman half-curtained by scalding steam;
    five ton fuel firebox, thirsty for gallons of water,
    coal speedily spaded, furnace glowing hotter;
    a small gallery displays brass-haloed old dials;
    history hurtles, speeding down metalled miles.

    twice heroically saved from ignominious obscurity,
    generous rivets and pumps restored to near-purity:
    craftsmen lavished such love on bas-relief seals,
    rifle-long piston rods urge-on large iron wheels;
    coal-dust tints boiler-suited drivers on footplate,
    train scenes so touching, both genders celebrate

    across high vaulted viaduct she puffs out proud,
    smooth as a sewing machine, laughing out loud,
    pugilistic pistons pumping, intensely industrious,
    multi miles an hour, authentic and illustrious,
    thousands raise cheer, fans quickly camera snap,
    platformed train-spotters almost throwing up caps.

    ‘Flying Scotsman’ by Barry Graham Price (b.1938)



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