Celebrate National Poetry Day 2016 with us and Alex James.
Clickety-clack, clickety-clack go the wheels on the track... it’s no surprise trains have inspired so much poetry. The rhythm of the rails as the world flies by, and you with a great view of the best moving picture show unfolding at your window. What’s not to inspire?
For National Poetry Day on the 6 October 2016, we enlisted the help of Alex James: writer, cheese maker and, of course, bassist in Blur. As a regular traveler with us, Alex inked his own inspired lines poem while gazing at the view of the Cotswolds from our train window.
We then challenged you to pen your own poetry inspired by the views from our train window. We’ve had a fantastic response from all across our network and Alex has chosen his favourite 5 poems that have inspired him.
The Winning Poem
The Morning Commute, by Jo Jolly
Still warm from quick kisses and soft duvet beds
Frost stamped on the platform, the engine ahead
Then away through the shadows as deep woods rush by,
A village, a church spire, a low winter sky.
There’s an email to open, a boss to placate
Work battles and duties and meetings await,
But for now there’s a glimmer of light on the wings
Of a magpie that swoops, and a robin that sings.
A sip of hot coffee and outside, a town
A river that snakes and a road that dives down.
The country speeds by, and the country stands still
A fog-shrouded farmhouse, a horse on a hill.
The email lies open, work calls to be done
But the pattern of clouds ‘cross the plain is more fun.
And then, for a moment, all cares disappear
When gold streaks the valley, and morning appears.
Runner up - The GWR Train, by Sali Gray
The GWR Train, by Sali Gray
The rhythmic sound -
Train on the track
Taking me there…
...bringing me back.
Gloucester to London
GWR line -
I love this route,
A favourite of mine.
Too fast to be seen,
Red, gold and green.
Soon we are slowing
And all becomes clear,
Sheep, cows and horses,
A small herd of deer.
I see a church spire
Not too far away;
I promise myself
I’ll find it one day.
I notice a hawk
Then spotting something
It swoops from the sky.
Houses on hillsides,
Small snaking streams,
Bridges and tunnels,
Put down your papers.
Stop reading your book.
Switch off your phones,
And have a good look…
Take a few moments
To see what I see;
Beauty surrounds us…
I’m sure you’ll agree.
Runner up - Westwards, by Jocelyn Menyhart
Westwards, by Jocelyn Menyhart
Drizzle dotting the window
Sad at our departure
Sweetly kept and swept
Laundry on the line
Unknowing of our presence
Now past the backs
Whilst we recline
Then on and blessed on
Yielding fields of green
Cruising the canal
Slinking along the estuary
Over the majestic bridge
And then the sun appearing
Welcoming us West
Runner up - Carriage Life, by Kathryn J. Bryant
Carriage Life, by Katie Bryant
A whistle stop
Leaning on the glass
The dulcet tone
And rhythmic sounds
Rocking in a trance
A zoetrope of imagery
A trail of low rise walls
An autumn illustration with tiny waterfalls
Reflections in the window,
When rolling past a farm
A narrative of charm.
Runner up - Fast train home, by Calypso Finch
Fast train home , by Calypso Finch
You can catch me on the fast train
Head tired against the window pane
Rising sun over Wiltshire plain
Old ruins and ancient hills stay the same
The steadfast oaks and lazy rivers
All sing the same slow refrain
Now I'm looking at foxgloves and dreaming of first loves
I know we'll meet again
Immerse Yourself, by Alex James
Immerse Yourself, by Alex James
I was standing on the platform at Kingham, once
It was mid afternoon
And not as quiet as it normally is then
Because there was another person there
And he was all in a stew, shouting into his mobile.
“I dunno?” he yelled. ‘I’m in the middle of bleedin' nowhere”
We both got on the 1532 to Paddington.
It was autumn and for twenty magic minutes we raced the River Evenlode
Running like a razor through a million shades of green
Snipe, deer, rising smoke, Christmas tree forests, the odd stately home,
It was just the two of us in the carriage
And I noticed he was gazing, rapt, out of the window, like me
Then we arrived at Oxford in the rain, more people got on the train
He got himself some tea
And he didn’t shout at his phone again
Probably not for a while, I think
I must have made that journey five hundred times
Cotswolds: Kingham, 'middle of nowhere'
And my heart never fails to beat faster, either end
And slower in between
Terms and conditions
These terms and conditions are subject to any other terms and conditions provided on this website or otherwise by the Company at the time of entering the competition. By entering this competition, each entrant confirms that he/she has read and understood these terms and conditions.
1. The competition
a. The competition promoter is First Greater Western Limited, Milford House, 1 Milford Street, Swindon SN1 1HL. Registered in England and Wales, company number: 05113733. Great Western Railways is a part of the FirstGroup group of companies.
b. The competition is open from 00:01 Thursday 6 October 2016 – 23:59 3 November 2016. Any entries received outside of this period (for whatever reason) will be invalid.
c. The competition is part of the GWR ‘Inspired Lines’ campaign. Participants are asked to submit their poetry inspired by the views while looking out a train window to GWRinspiredlines@GWR.com to enter. The first 50 valid entries will receive a free train ticket. One lucky winner will be chosen to win free train travel for a year and have their poem featured on train posters within the network. The top 5 poems including the winners will also be featured on train posters within the network.
d. The competition may be modified or withdrawn at any time
2. Competition entry
Entry is free of charge and no payments are required in order to participate.
a. To enter, entrants must email a poem, no less than 50 words in length and no more than 300 words in length to GWRinspiredlines@GWR.com between 00:01 Thursday 6 October 2016 – 23:59 3 November 2016. Entries submitted after this time will be automatically disqualified.
b. Valid entries must meet the word length requirements, not include any profanity or negative comments or views about GWR and its associates to be considered valid
c. The competition is only open to those who are 18 years or over and who are residents of the UK. Proof of identity and age may be required.
d. The Company’s employees and their immediate families, the Company’s agents and anyone professionally connected with the prize draw are not eligible to take part.
e. The Company reserves the right to check the validity of any entry. Entries failing to comply with these rules may not be accepted.
f. Proof of website submission will not be accepted as proof of entry and no responsibility is accepted for entries that are lost, damaged or delayed for whatever reason, including without limitation due to computer, network and/or user error.
g. Entrants may submit as many entries as they wish but no entrant may win more than one train ticket.
3. Winner selection
Subject to the terms set out below, a judge nominated by the Company (at its sole discretion) will select one winner out of all valid entries for the one year rail pass.
a. The judge’s decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into.
b. The Company will use its discretion to select a replacement winner in the event this is necessary.
4. The prize
a. The first 50 valid entries will receive one standard class return train ticket valid for use anywhere across the Great Western Railway network.
b. The winner will receive one standard class annual season ticket valid between two stations of their choice on the Great Western Railway network.
c. Tickets are valid on Great Western Railway services only.
d. The tickets will remain valid for 12 months from the date of issue. It is the prize winner’s responsibility to ensure that the tickets are used within this timeframe.
e. The prize is subject to availability and the Company’s terms and conditions.
f. The prizes are as stated and, subject to paragraph g) below, no cash or other alternatives will be offered.
g. If, due to circumstances beyond the Company’s control, the Company is unable to provide the stated prize, it reserves the right to award a substitute prize of equal or greater value. Any extra costs incurred, including but not limited to taxes, travel to/from rail stations, overnight accommodation, insurance etc. are not included within the prize and are the sole responsibility of the prize winner.
h. Any extra costs incurred, including but not limited to taxes, travel to/from rail stations, overnight accommodation, insurance etc. are not included within the prize and are the sole responsibility of the prize winner.
i. Great Western Railway reserves the right to check the validity of any entry. Entries failing to comply with these rules will not be accepted. All entries must be received by 23:59 3 November 2016. The winners will be notified within 28 days from the end of the competition. The winners will be notified via email and their names may be published on this website.
j. Reasonable efforts will be made to contact the winner(s). If the winner(s) cannot be contacted, or are unable to comply with these terms and conditions, the Company reserves the right to offer the prize to any other eligible entrant.
k. To request the name and county of the winners, please send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to First Greater Western Limited, Milford House, 1 Milford Street, Swindon SN1 1HL
5. Poem rights
5.1 All competition entries and any accompanying material submitted to the Company will become the property of the Company on receipt and will not be returned.
5.2 By submitting your competition entry and any accompanying material, you agree to:
(a) assign to the Company all your intellectual property rights with full title guarantee; and
(b) waive all moral rights, in and to your competition entry and otherwise arising in connection with your entry to which you may now or at any time in the future be entitled under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 as amended from time to time and under all similar legislation from time to time in force anywhere in the world.
5.3 You agree that the Company may, but is not required to, make your entry available on its website and any other media, whether now known or invented in the future, and in connection with any publicity of the competition. You agree to grant the Company a non-exclusive, worldwide, irrevocable licence, for the full period of any intellectual property rights in the competition entry and any accompanying materials, to use, display, publish, transmit, copy, edit, alter, store, re-format and sub-licence the competition entry and any accompanying materials for such purposes.
6. Exclusion of liability
The Company shall not be responsible for, and shall not cover nor insure any entrants and winner, and third parties from and against any and all actions, claims, proceedings, losses, liabilities, damages, penalties, fines, judgments, costs, charges and expenses of whatever kind and nature relating to the prizes in any way.
This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by or associated with Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
b. These Terms and Conditions shall be governed by the laws of England and Wales, whose courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction.