Friday, 19 October 2012

The Train Commuter's Psalm

Oh Lord, how heavy are my eyelids,
how tedious the hour that stretches before me.

This train is seven minutes late
due to the inevitable signal problems.

And as a result it's packed to the gunwhales:
the inspector can't get through to inspect the tickets.

The bloke standing in the aisle has his elbow in my ear
And the stockbroker sitting next to me could lose a few pounds, frankly.

O Lord, how wonderful are the works of anti-perspirants
I wish this stockbroker knew of them also.

The youth opposite has earplugs that leak sound throughout the carriage
and even across the region formerly known as Network South-East.

I cannot rest my Tablet on the table
As I've spilt coffee all over it

And no-one offers me a napkin to mop it up
Not even one.

My body screams for sleep
My mind is in a half-world between wakefulness and dozing.

And so I am poured into the midsts of despair
And my heart dries up within me.

But you O Lord lift me up
and remind me there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Just sixty short minutes and I shall be breathing London air
And striding in the morning light to the office.

So help me get forty winks, I pray
And, should I sleep, keep me from dribbling on the stockbroker's shoulder.


  1. Brilliant. Reminds of of my commuting days from darkest Kent into Charing Cross.

    Lord, the echoes of shouted mobile conversations ring in my ears, "I'm on the train" is their refrain.
    They assault the senses and vibrating devices make ladies chests tremble,
    Oh Lord, keep me from dwelling on these things,
    as they shatter my illusions about under-wired harnesses.

  2. Wonderful! Just off to face it now so I'll take the Psalm with me.

  3. Reminds me of why I gave up working in London and moved away from Kent.

  4. Not to mention the so called "Quiet Zone." Portsmouth Harbour to Waterloo, we're talking about you...Much more of that and I'd have turned into "Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells!"

  5. Brilliant! One for my two commuting offspring, I think.

  6. and for Evensong (do you do Evensong?)

    My soul doth magnify the ticket barrier
    And my spirit rejoiced as it chewed my season ticket.
    Because my humility was insufficient
    From henceforth all generations shall call me pillock.
    Because the ticket collector
    Has got his beady eye on me
    And his name is Adolf
    His victimisation of commuters is from generation unto generations
    All them that fear him
    He hath showed his excess fare table.
    He hath scattered the bankers and the builders
    And pulled down the luggage from the rack.
    He hath exalted nobody but himself
    And filled the coffers of East Coast Railways with good things;
    And the ticketless he hath sent empty away
    He hath received a gold watch for his excess fare achievements.
    Being mindful of his power
    As he spoke to the pathetic
    Commuters in his hold.

  7. Did you have any particular setting in mind when you composed this? It is very funny even to this Yank who has not commuted for many a year!

    1. The schlep from Bedford to St Pancras - especially when you pick up the massed Lutonian hordes.


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