Snell Publishers

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Westonzoyland to Bridgewater

As we go on I see a tractor pulling earth and broken concrete (signs of the flood) and everywhere along the route there are travellers asking the bus driver where she is going. They are lost and waiting for a bus, any bus. Wanting to get places, wanting to get home where they came from. Rather like India, the vagueness, the waiting, the awareness of the temporal nature of things that can change at any time for any reason. Only here the situation is too much water, whereas in India it is always a lack of what we have in abundance.

INDIA POEM:
LEELA PALACE

Pink sugar candy palace,
Beggar woman
In rags,
Choking pollution
And bougainvillea
Vibrant cerise,
Leaving Bangalore
Again.

FROM BRIDGWATER TO TAUNTON
We reach Bridgwater and meet a rail replacement bus leaving for who knows where? Throughout the adjustments and disruptions, we have to keep on going, keep on loving. Like the time my friend Barbara said to a drunk outside Teignmouth station as she gave him a pound ‘I’m a Christian, I love the Lord!’ So simple, so hard to say.
This is not the place to come in the winter. We crawl through unaccustomed traffic in Bridgwater, which is the detour route for the traffic that can no longer get across the levels. At the A38 (a road that starts and stops and re-begins) there are laybys. I have a poem about laybys and drinking tea and a picnic in a layby in Somerset levels before we knew about floods and change. Then we dreamed of summer days.
SOMERSET LEVELS
He talks to his son on the tractor,
Bent sideways by time
And rosy red from sun,
Hand laid on sheepdog’s head.

Discussing the days doings
Caught by the gate
Sun dipping,
Farmhouse waiting.

No one gets off this bus because no one tries to cross the levels. They know!
(I did get home. On a train. From Taunton.)