Poem for Which there is No Explanation

The timetables are striped to help you read them.
There is no meaning to the stripes.

The stripes are pale, so you only see them
subconsciously: your brain makes columns

of the numbers, which you read as a timetable
because they are in the accepted format –

a list of place-names down the left-hand side,
symbols at the top and very little on a Sunday –

posted on a station wall at the back of beyond.
Otherwise they could be share prices, swimming results

or experimental data. Or the jottings
of an obsessive: it is very easy

to miss a train by one minute. The lines
curve past overgrown embankments, late summer

standstill. You are the only person here.
How did you get this far? Some things unravel

through explanation. You may be waiting
for a train that never comes.

Fiona Moore


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