Birmingham New Street Station in a Heatwave

My CELTA course in Birmingham and the summer’s astonishing heatwave have coincided in July 2013. It has meant that I’ve become a rail commuter again and I get to traipse through Birmingham New Street’s revamped station. I rather like its new look.

It’s a shame that they haven’t done anything about the narrow escalators and stairs that connect the platforms and the concourse.

I think that we’d had an input session on teaching writing one morning in which we’d discussed how we could encourage ESL students to write poetry. It reminded me of how I always preferred to write poetry than prose at Korean school when they set their writing competitions: poetry requires minimal words and I was the weakest student in my group. Somehow, I managed to wow someone with my creative outputs and won a few prizes. Ironically, they were dictionaries!

I’ve been reading the Psalms and Norman MacCaig’s poems during my commute. The combination of all these things has culminated in me writing a wee one of my own.

Birmingham New Street Station in a Heatwave
It’s okay,
It’s fine really,
until you’re at the top of the stairs and then –

My nose!
My nose!

Assaulted by these people’s
sticky, sweaty,
familiar smells. Their stale scents
stick at the back of my throat.

Descending the steps into
sultry staleness.
Dim, dingy, dirty.
Pining for fresh air.

Waiting for my shiny steed to whisk me away.

Published by

Han-Na Cha

English Language Teacher, Academic and Personal Development Skills Trainer, Baker.

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