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Distant Dreams – The Cornish Riviera Express.

Distant dreams of long ago
from far away, the memories come.
of tousled heads and clean white gloves
as crumpled down the socks did fall
when stepping high, to different world.
Steel on steel, hoot and chug
as fire burns the toiling brings
smoke from stoke in iron heat,
to huff and puff as loco runs.
Excited hearts, new strange smells
of coal, oil like warm sweet sulphur reaches
noses pressed flat against the windows gaze,
as little legs felt prickly seats and polished sills;
to watch this world of passing scenes.
We sat with Mum in pretty hat and
Dad along in Sunday best, of blue and shiny shoes,
enchanting dreams of long ago…
Of passing fields green and sweet,
of newly seen cows and sheep.
The engine massive trundles strong,
huge with brass, enamelled and long,
on rails that sped us on and further on…
As power for steam from fire it runs
on winding rails and signals seen
captivating world that passed
we sat entranced,  in life so different
from one we knew,
enthralled to captivate enchanting views.
The  stations pass in colourful flowers
brightly tucked in buckets and troughs,
with sharp polished names of Truro and St Erth;
the joys of travel the fun and mirth.
Delightful wonder at every bend,
as windows down our heads did send
hair blowing in the wind;
the squeals in tunnels that never end.
As porters smart in flat blue hats,
lift cases and trunks in bustle and flap,
of come and go with whistles blown,
we gaze as if in  misty dream,
as doors bang shut, huff and puff
smoke and toil, coal and steam,
to make it so.
And on we go…
And on we go, in distant dreams…
of long ago…

A Remembered Journey on The Cornish Riviera Express -1950


The Cornish Riviera Express is a British express passenger train that has run between London and Penzance in Cornwall since 1904. Introduced by the Great Western Railway the name Cornish Riviera Express has been applied to the late morning express train from London Paddington Station to Penzance Station continuously through nationalisation under British Rail and privatisation under First Great Western only ceasing briefly during the two World Wars.

Photos: Courtesy of Peter R Foster.


1 Elizabeth @ The Garden Window { 06.29.13 at 1:27 pm }

Nothing could be better than the speed and excitement of traveling by steam train, and you have captured the magic so well, Susie! I was breathless by the time I got to the end of the poem…..

2 Susie { 06.30.13 at 8:21 am }

I agree Elizabeth @ The Garden Window – such a wonderful way to travel at any age but as a child in the fifties it was more than exciting!
Something different to try as I dragged memories from all those years ago. Strange to think we wore white gloves and long socks to travel in those days!
I wanted it to be more of a story than a poem – I hope it’s a little of both. Thank you for your kind comment.

3 Margie { 07.06.13 at 7:07 am }

This was a beautiful story!
I loved reading it.
Trust life is good, Susie

4 Susie { 07.07.13 at 11:21 am }

Thanks Margie – yes life is good and so nice to hear from you. I trust you are well and happy, I shall be over at yours shortly to see what you are up too. Take care lovely lady X

5 Ken Clark { 07.18.13 at 9:00 am }

Just outstanding…

6 Susie { 07.18.13 at 9:34 am }

Thank you so much for your very kind comment Ken – it means a lot to receive such praise from a writer and academic such as you. This poem has recently gone for competition – so I am forever hopeful – so all comments help with such things.

7 Karen C.L Brook { 10.17.13 at 12:34 pm }

Via Facebook: Congratulations, Susie! Just read the poem and it is terrific in every way…palpable memories as real as this minute, woven together with the elegantly strong rhythm of the magnificent train. A reassuring feeling that something bigger and stronger is carrying us and we can just let go and enjoy the ride. For a few minutes I was breathing the air of long ago with white gloves on children’s hands saved for Sunday and special times. Thank you for the gift in this poem of childlike wonder and awe from long ago. Oh to capture it and live in it again! Such joy Also SO glad things are well with you, my friend. I seldom post or write as I’m still floundering, but so enjoy seeing your glorious photos and beautiful places. This is one of those many times I fervently wish “across the pond” wasn’t quite so far. Oh to sit and enjoy some tea together….or some of the Higgins I keep in the fridge Sending you lots of love and a warm hug xoxox

8 Susie { 10.17.13 at 1:01 pm }

Dearest Karen – thank you so much for this lovely comment left via Facebook – it is a while since I have heard from you and I was so pleased to receive these words knowing that recent times have been difficult for you – I can relate to this so very well. I too wish we were closer to share some good time together and our ‘heart thoughts’ and enjoy some good Earl Grey – I remember you like it so. Stay strong lovely lady, for all will be well. Trust in your good faith I know you have this for comfort. I think of you often and you are always in my prayers… With love.

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