Duncan Forbes’ poems have been published by Faber, Secker and Enitharmon, who brought out a Selected Poems, Lifelines, in 2009. It was drawn from five previous collections. Awards and prizes include a Gregory Award, TLS/Blackwells Prize, two Stephen Spender Times Translation Prizes and a Hawthornden Fellowship. A painter as well as a poet, he read English at Oxford and has taught for many years. Now retired, he lives in Gloucestershire. His latest collection is Human Time (2020). See www.duncanforbes.com
High Speed 2 Limited
Take an island in its silence,
Call the railway High Speed 2,
Plan its route and drive it through
What few tranquillities remain.
Big business bigots holding forth
Need faster trains from South to North
Or North to South and back again.
Faster, faster. Buy disaster.
Job creation. Desecration.
Noise pollution. No solution.
Politicians make decisions.
Join the nation’s conurbations.
Fill the Chilterns with incisions.
Engineers design desires:
Sod the suburbs. Shaft the shires.
Squander squillions raised by millions:
Many billions to be wasted.
Natural beauties devastated.
Ask in future what we did
With umpteen thousand million quid.
What will anybody do
With those extra minutes too
In Euston, Birmingham and Crewe?