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Poetry Pleases: The Gare de Lyon

Caroline Glyn paints a word portrait of a world-famous station.

Great stations float on the life of a city
Like an island abbey. They are not fully real,
Or else the city is not. Even the streets
As they approach are changed: impermanent lights
Streak and shimmer like signals passed at night.
The streets are touched with the mystery of departure
And of lives apart, raised in suspension,
Which is a form of prayer. The Gare de Lyon
Floats in presence in absence, housing darkness
Within the shouts and lights of the taxi ranks
(New-come passengers shivering with setting out)
And the blaze of the halls and shopping arcades,
The outer rings of the central mystery:
The dim quais sounding with unearthly noises
Where the great trains lie.


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