Unlike in Adlestrop we stopped in here to stay
To immerse into a reddish dance of the caves,
In the swirls of women who made up coiffures
To walk meadows barefoot into eastern hills.
The train hissed in steam to leave us crawling
In the station against the wall of the mountain.
An old man reading news on a cement bench,
His cigar offered challenge to outgoing smoke.
We crawled in station looking for a black bird
That cried in mist through history’s stalactite
To the blackest and oldest birds of prehistory,
Their bones interred as pure stalactite flowers.
A black bird did sing sweetly of cave ancestors
But bats inside were more forthright on wings
That flapped in the enormous silence of caves,
A far cry from the bird cousins of Oxfordshire.
(The lonely Borra caves railway station nestled in the Eastern hills reminded me of the Adlestrop railway station in a poem by that name by Edward Thomas)