Iowemma: Canto IV


Let me take you on a journey
Cross the island to the westward
Starting out from Douglas Station
On the right hand of the twin tracks,
And where one departs to southward
Carryon direction westward
Through a level-crossing westward
At a place Belle Vue is known as
Where was once a noted race-course
And a horse called Lucky Jimmy.
Over by bridge of iron,
Painted red, the Douglas river,
To be more exactly stated
That arm callèd the Glass River,
Which here parts from its own sister
Or which meets it, all depending
On the way in which you see it.
Then the second level-crossing
Not far from the Bridge of Quarter,
Followed by the Bridge of Braddan,
Where a tiny railway hut is
Serving as a halt on Sundays
When the faithful in the summer
Flock for service to Kirk Braddan,
In the open air, in thousands.
Through a curving river valley
Leads the track until the station,
Union Mills by name, is entered
And the train in which we travel
Slides to rest beside a platform
Sweeping in a graceful crescent
Like the bow of Hiawatha.
Ornamental plants and bushes,
Fuchsia, laurel, escallonia,
Line the grassy banks, and flowers
Of all possiblecollections
Blossom in white-bordered segments.
But upon the side where, strangely,
There is built a Booking Office,
Is no platform for alighting,
And the one who has th’intention
Of alighting must climb downwards
Perilously to the gravel
Ere ascending up the staircase
Made of wood with fitted handrail
Leading to the village roadway.
Now beneath a bridge continue,
Threading still the river valley,
By the winding dark Dhoo River,
Round the curve which is the longest
Of the entire railway system,
To the next rude halt at Crosby
In the centre of the island.
Here we see a cattle siding
Leading to a pen and warehouse;
On the other side a quarry
And a road that, climbing steeply,
Leads into the southern uplands.
There should be a halt at Greeba,
Say the villagers of Greeba,
But on rare occasions only
Will the engine stop at Greeba,
And the people of that region
Have to walk from distant Crosby
Or the equal-distant St. Johns.
Here a junction is for three lines,
One continuing to westward
And the terminus of this line;
One that to the right curves northward
Climbing up the coast to Michael
And all stations north to Ramsey;
And a third that, looping backward,
Climbs above the St. Johns Junction
To ascend the mountain shoulder,
Shoulder of the Mount Slieuwhallian,
High above the Foxdale River,
To the regions of the slag-heaps
And the ruined homes of miners.
Foxdale Village is the station
At the end of this branch railway,
But before the toiling engine
Reaches the aerial hamlet
It can take a welcome breather
Halfway up at Fall of Water,
Where there are a score of houses
Forming pretty Lower Foxdale.
But if we eschew the branch line
And continue to the westward
We shall follow the Neb River
Past the sandpits and the meadows
And the glens of Mount Slieuwhallian
To the broo below the Golf Links
And St. German’s Cemetary
To the old mill of Glenfaba
Where a water-wheel is turning,
Rumbling, and with water dripping,
Making such a pleasant picture;
And we pass beneath the bridge arch
And we run beside the river
Where an engine took a header
In a hurry one fine morning,
And at last we cross a roadway
Near to where the cure the kipper,
Into Peel beside the harbour
To the music of the sea-gulls.