The circle line

Clair Chilvers

Yangon Station, monument
to the colonial past,
plants grow from the roof
covered with a pall of dirt
electric wires across the ceilings
knitted into random patterns.
We cross a shabby bridge
to the 'Circle Line'
a commuter train,
steep steps, no doors,
no concession to the old, infirm.

We leave on time.
hot, fans broken,
seats and windows dirty
pass heartbreaking shacks
built on no-man’s-land
blank walls towards us
to avoid the clouds of dust
and diesel fumes.
Washing hanging out to dry
(how can anything be clean
yet children dressed for school
in pristine uniform).

We alight after an hour
our air-conditioned car
takes us to lunch
at the Strand Hotel.

Try these other poems about Myanmar in the Poetry Atlas.

Main Location:

Yangon Central Railway Station, Kun Chan Rd, Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)

Other locations:

The Railway Station in Yangon, Myanmar

Photo by Clair Chilvers