Monday, 30 April 2018

Poem: Portcreek Junction

by Cordelia Hobbs







Bask in the sibilant splendour of this sparkling gold stream
Indulge in its effulgence
As it smirks and swerves it’s way to the Solent

“Nothing gold can stay”
for when the sun sinks below the sea,
what's left is not gleaming
the river is seething
waiting for sunrise to invoke in it, again,
that sense of feeling


I wrote this poem in response to a specific view that offers me a rare moment of tranquillity on my painful commute. It stuns me every morning and evening and I am often lucky enough to capture it during the turning of day, making it even more decadent. Portcreek Junction is a railway bridge that runs over a body of water running parallel to the A27 and the Havant bypass. If you are travelling along the Southern Railway line to London Waterloo via Guildford as I do twice a day, you cross the bridge, otherwise known as Portcreek Junction, just before arriving at Hilsea station. I believe my bizarre attachment to this bridge and the view it brings is founded upon two things. Firstly is the fact that the train becomes silent, the wheels cease to click upon the rails and you discover a new blissful silence rather than the monotonous rattle that turns into white noise you had become immune to after 36 minutes of a commute.  The second is the misplacement of and unexpected breath-taking brutal beauty of it. As picturesque and lovely as the area of Hilsea is, it’s not quite a Claude Monet. The view itself is framed by Colas civil engineering works on one side of the bridge and Hilsea station itself on the other. Portcreek Junction is stark, unexpected and mesmeric and then gone in a flash of warm gold. It remains as one of my fondest views and probably one of the most beautiful. It is worth getting up for.

The poem as it stands will always be, on a personal level, about Portcreek Junction, however it will always be open to interpretation, as all artistic mediums are, and is more thought that went into it. The idea of light giving the water life and that without out it, a body of water is angry or often sad but mostly numb. It waits all night for “a sense of feeling”, i.e. light on and through the water. This can be applied in a more vast sense to us as people. Without a guiding light, whatever that may be, we are left to trudge on slowly into the vast and claustrophobic sea without ever revealing an effulgent potential or without ever conceding to a warm and golden feeling of worth that can transform someone's life into something hugely meaningful.

The quotation “Nothing gold can stay” is a poem by American poet Robert Frost. Frost was known to write about landscape and the power of beauty in nature, his poetry is very effortlessly thoughtful and I like it a lot. Here it is:

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.


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