‘The Worst Journey in the World’ by Clarissa Aykroyd

The Worst Journey in the World

We have not yet passed the dip in the track.
We have passed Earls Court. At Earls Court we sat for ten minutes
and I read The Worst Journey in the World.
Apsley Cherry-Garrard was reminded by an ice slope
(or an argument or a penguin) of the trains at Earls Court.
Then we crawled onward to Gloucester Road
and I asked myself about the empty platform
which one day recently lay untouched under an inch of snow.
And then we crawled out of Gloucester Road
and then nothing.
“Ladies and gentlemen – apologies for this delay.
We are being held here due to an obstruction at Sloane Square.
I will update you when I have some more information.”
A flicker through the carriage.
This is not just annoying. It’s all wrong.
What did he mean by “an obstruction”?
Why didn’t he say “We should be on the move shortly”?
It’s all wrong. And all around
the murmurs are murmuring louder and louder.
“I’m going to miss my train,” says a Russian fur hat
but no one listens. The stale air is open for conversation
but no one pays attention.
I look down at The Worst Journey in the World
and wish I were back at Earls Court
or in Antarctica. “Polar exploration is more lonely than London,
and the post comes but once a year,” wrote Cherry-Garrard.
“Ladies and gentlemen – I do apologise for this continuing delay.
I will update you when we are given some more information.”
The sighs a little louder now. It could be bad. It could be bad.
“It is so much easier to shirk in civilization,” he wrote.
We haven’t even passed the dip in the track.
That would have made me feel so much better. But now that I think of it,
the dip in the track might be on another line.
Yes, I think it is on another line.
It must be on the Northern line.
Clarissa Aykroyd is originally from Victoria, Canada and now lives in London. Her poetry has recently appeared in Ink Sweat & Tears and Shot Glass Journal. She is the author of a blog on poetry and poets, The Stone and the Star