Redruth Railway Station at Night – a poem by David Oates

Categories Poetry1 Comment

When the mines closed, men left Cornwall in their thousands, going out literally into the unknown.  Many left from Redruth Station and their heartache is still there.

 

Clock creeps to midnight

Soft sleep its gentle hostage takes

Throughout the tired town.

But there, where arc of bridge

Throws high its granite span

The day hangs on.

 

As lamps cast pools of light

On platform cold and grey,

Where parting people stand

Islands in the dark,

Cocooned and swathed

Against November chill

That comes as east wind tips

Down Carn Brea’s top,

And coldness grips the town.

 

A place of passage

A place to feel

That final hold on home

And hope for exile brief,

That fortune’s smile will hold

The hope of quick return.

 

They do not know

But bonds are sundered here

That never forge again

And as they go

The life-blood, too,

Goes from our land.

 

This place has felt the pain

In former days,

When from the west

They came to wait

In huddled hordes.

Bereft of work, of hope,

A land where silent shafts

Send messages of lives destroyed

And forced to leave this land.

 

Caught in camera’s eye,

That sea of anxious faces,

Flung platform long

In quiet confusion,

Speaks the pain of parting,

The aching want of home.

Those faces full of fear

Of unknown lands.

 

Stood here so late

On lonely night

When winds of time blow chill

I see them still.

 

David Oates is a Cornish bard who has published a history of Troon, entitled “Echoes of an Age”, a guide to Godrevy and Gwithian, “Walk the hidden ways” and a slim volume of his own verse, “Poems from the far west”. His unpublished work includes a reflection on a Cornish childhood, “What time do they close the gates, Mister?” and a fictionalised story for young people based on the extant life of St Gwinear, with the working title, “The son of a king”. David is working on another guide in the “Walk the hidden ways” series, entitled “Hard Rock country”.

David is a tenor singer with the well-known group, Proper Job based in mid- Cornwall and has collaborated with Portreath musician, Alice Allsworth, to write the lyrics for a number of songs about Cornwall and the Cornish.

 

 

David Oates
David is a Cornish bard who has published a history of Troon, entitled “Echoes of an Age”, a guide to Godrevy and Gwithian, “Walk the hidden ways” and a slim volume of his own verse, “Poems from the far west”. His unpublished work includes a reflection on a Cornish childhood, “What time do they close the gates, Mister?” and a fictionalised story for young people based on the extant life of St Gwinear, with the working title, “The son of a king”. David is working on another guide in the “Walk the hidden ways” series, entitled “Hard Rock country”.
David is a tenor singer with the well-known group, Proper Job based in mid- Cornwall and has collaborated with Portreath musician, Alice Allsworth, to write the lyrics for a number of songs about Cornwall and the Cornish.

1 thought on “Redruth Railway Station at Night – a poem by David Oates

  1. Miners digging, down below,
    Working with just a lanterns glow,
    Cornish mines, closed at last.
    Miners dreaming of the past,
    In other lands so far away,
    A few remember that sad, sad day.
    From Redruth station and others too,
    They travelled on to lands anew.

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