Monday, September 10, 2007

The Waverley Fiasco

The continuing saga of the Waverley line, which is supposed to be built to connect Edinburgh with the central Borders, rolls on. Rumour has it that the budget is spiralling out of all sensible control with government and Scottish Borders Council both finding themselves in a no win situation. It shows the stupidity of designing something no fit for purpose and of attempting to fudge the figures to make it look economically acceptable. If, and I've always felt it is a very BIG IF then it will become the total antithesis of the 'Night Mail' so brilliantly described in Auden's poem that was used in the film.

The Waverley Commute (with apologies to WHA)

This is the slow train heading from the borders,
Carrying commuters with manic disorders,

Some are very rich, but most are pretty poor
Some are for the shops, there’s the girl next door.

Pulling out of Tweedbank, a steady climb
The gradient's against her, she’s barely on time.

Past cotton-grass and moorland boulder

Shovelling out fumes over her shoulder,

Barely stuttering as she passes

Silent miles of wind-bent grasses.

Birds turn their heads as she approaches,

Stare from the bushes at her blank- empty coaches.

Sheep-dogs cannot turn her course;

They slumber on with paws across.

The farm she passes is all deserted
Sold to developers on their course perverted

It was made in 1936 and Auden himself read his now famous poem and the music is by Benjamin Britten. It's now available on DVD here at Amazon.

No comments: