Books Magazine

Did You Know? Charles Dickens.

By Ashleylister @ashleylister
While researching Charles Dickens, I had an epiphany.  Not necessarily of the most positive nature.  I realised that I am a closet rail enthusiast.  Not the anorak wearing Train Spotter variety, but seemingly I can write about train crashes. While composing the poem for this weeks theme, it morphed and became about an event which Charles Dickens was involved in, and which ultimately formed his personality for the last years of his life, namely the Staplehurst Rail Crash.
This is how my poem has ended up thus far:
Author or Angel?

"The Pickwick Papers" marked the start
of Dickens incredible career,
With the serialisation of this tome,
1836 was the year.
Within a short while he had become
a Literary Celebrity,
famed for his humor and keen observation
of people and society.
Using these skills he managed to include
the essence of acqaintances,
into the characters of his books
bringing form to the story and sentences.
As the years rolled by, to critical acclaim,
this Wordsmith wrote more and more,
loved by the Rich, loved by the Poor,
little did he know what his life had in store.
A champion for the disadvantaged,
the impoverished, the slave,
He stood up and spread the news,
used his position til he reached the grave.
In the year of our Lord, 1865,
he traveled upon the "Tidal Train",
in the scandalous company of his Mistress,
and her Mother, a journey that was in vain.
Heading from Folkestone up to London
the Express hurtled down the track,
but just east of Staplehurst tragedy struck,
It was a journey from which many would never come back.
The replacement of timbers along the line
as it crossed over the low viaduct progressed,
but Human error, wrong calculations,
left inadequate stoppage, the line buckled under the stress.
With the momentum the Loco, its tender,
A van and a carriage made it across,
but the next seven coaches fell from the track
into a swampy field covered in peat moss.
Luckily unscathed, his companions and he,
removed themselves from their dangling coach
and went from person to person,
comforting the injured and dying without reproach.
Calm and collected, completely composed
he relieved the victims with a nip of Brandy,
some died in his arms, some had wounds very great,
Impressing on his mind, he later suffered with PTSD.
He returned to his carriage to retrieve
the manuscript called "Our Mutual Friend",
But the experience struck him dumb for two whole weeks,
Trauma haunting his dreams til the very end.
So badly affected he struggled to write,
instead conducting a Reading Tour,
but in 1870, he suffered a stroke and died
5 years to the day of the rail crash so harshly endured.
Its a work in progress and needs tweaking, but you see what I mean. Oh dear me!  ;-)
Thanks for reading.

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