Platform Proverbs

1 1 A late train is better than a mythic one.

2 Better an announcement clipped with facts

than a thousand words of empty greeting.

3 A wise man reads the headcodes

but a fool is blind to his destination.

4 A foolish man’s umbrella fails in autumn,

but a wise man’s springs to full cover.

5 There are three things I do not understand,

four that defy knowing:

the pace of the fast which is slow,

birds that tingle on the overhead line,

station flowers that live on to bloom

and the price of tickets in spring.

7 The wicked man says in his heart

‘I will not stand for the woman who is pregnant’,

but the righteous risks her obese and rises to offer.

8 Better a points failure with a passing line,

than power lost and traction with it.

9 The wicked man pushes for a seat,

but the righteous stands on legs of steel.

2 1 One thing I detest, two are beyond contempt:

the man who sneers from his first class seat,

and the woman who tramples to hers.

2 An uncapped coffee may not shake on the table,

but watch it diligently, for as the ballast settles

so will the passing wheels deliver misfortune to your trousers.

3 Better to squeeze on a seat fairly gained

than lounge in one wrought with an elbow.

4 The fool spends his battery in public gossip

but the wise guards his mobile for delays and deals.

5 The fool has no eye on the forecast,

he says ‘my train will arrive whatever the weather’;

6 but the wise consults carefully, lest he be snow-bound for days

and his employer despatch him for his absence.

7 My son, do not fix women with your stare

or hold their wandering eyes in yours;

8 for in an instant you will alight the platform on their shoulder

and their shadows will stalk you by day and by night.