“Two vast and endless tracks of rail”

With apologies to Shelley’s Ozymandias.  By Ruth Corderoy.

I met a traveller from a northern land
Who said: Two vast and endless tracks of rail
Stand in the Midlands. Near them on the siding,
Half sunk, a shatter’d engine lies, whose shell
Of aerodynamic shape and cold electronic dashboard
Tell that its builder well our passions read
For speed and power. Stamp’d on these lifeless things,
a Virgin logo picked out on background red.
And on the nameplate these words appear:
“My name is HS2, train of trains:
Look on my speed, old Intercities, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck. Boundless and bare,
The lone and level tracks stretch far away.

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