Person. Under. A. Train.


So I know I said I was going away for a while to revise. This is still true! But something happened on my way to the library today that forced me to write. At the train station, a very dark announcement was made which upset me. But I was shocked by how normally people seemed to take it, and how normally the announcer stated it. It made me realise how always moving so fast can eat into our souls and our humanity.

So I wrote the poem below as an ode to the person who seemed to be forgotten in the midst of city life. Bye again!xxx


“There are minor delays on all lines…

Due to a person under a train…”

His voice went out in slow, even beats.


“The circle line is part suspended…”

The ponytailed girls continued to sway,

The bigger one said as she giggled,

“Silly person climbed in the wrong way!”


“The central line is part suspended…”

I heard the groans circle my space.

“I’m already ten minutes late to work”

The man wrung his wrists, frowns across his face.


Someone’s ten minutes late to life…


“The jubilee line is closed between…”

“My doctor’s meeting is down the drain…”

Life just went on behind the screen.


“The entire district line is suspended…”

A woman groaned to her daughter’s pleas,

“It’s not the end of the world”…

Yes. It’s not, I wanted to scream.


At least not of ours.


Our time, our dates, and our silly pain,

Fall like heavy bricks along the drain,

If we try not to complain…

And think of the person. under. a. train.


24 responses to “Person. Under. A. Train.

  1. toyin adewole

    this is really good!! i have been trying to comment for the longest!! love love love!

  2. Sadly the world is becoming increasingly desensitized and selfish. People aren’t motivated by things of the heart anymore. And you’re absolutely right, it has everything to do with the world becoming more fast-paced. Beautiful and thoughtful writing as always love. Good luck with studying!

  3. Ms_Rere (Olohirere)

    “Someone’s 10 minutes late to life”……that line!!
    Breaks my heart to think this really happened 😦

  4. Kanyinsola Abiona

    so true! There are two things to this:
    1. as Chinazo said, people are increasingly selfish and occupied by their own lives and challenges that there isn’t much room to think about others’ needs, lives or experiences.
    2. there’s also an element of the boy who cried wolf. Increasingly since the recession, there have been so many accounts on the news in central london about people under trains, jumping on the tracks .. so people don’t blink an eyelid anymore, once more because they might have initially paid attention to it in the early stages and its been normalised.

  5. We have become materialistic and self absorbed with our ambitions and realities to the point of narcissism. Its so unfortunate that a threat to someone’s life becomes like an ‘unnecessary’ glitch to their ‘grand’ plans, rather than a stimulus that reminds us of the fragility of our humanity.
    I really love this work Elizabeth. You are able to evoke so much emotion with the way you write your art. Thanks for the lovely poem but i have to say get back to studying lol

    • Thank you so much faith! Your comment goes right to the heart of it! Hahhaha I really do need to go back! Good luck with your things too :)xxx

      • Ah, we’ve known SINCE na! Plus, technically, your name IS in your copyright below… 😀
        Um, hope I wouldn’t be considered as crossing the line if, like Faith above, I also asked that you go back to reading now? 😀
        All the best Mademoiselle!

      • Haha I’m glad you noticed 🙂 and no it’s not crossing a line lol I need the motivation! Thanks 🙂

  6. He knows the goings of every sparrow; how much more the man under the train? *sigh*
    Coincidentally, a similar train of thought crossed my mind today.
    I concluded that though it may be getting cold around us, we are to make sure that chill doesn’t make its way into us. Tough, yes, but well worth the effort; and there are others towing the same line…
    Lovely writing, as usual, Miss Longe.

  7. i had a talk with a stranger about this once … i was unnerved by the way people were acting but i couldn’t quite put my finger on why until that woman started talking to me, that was when i realised that i was horrified.. it happens with news reports too.. the world is utterly disconnected

  8. Just for giggles, if this wasn’t an accident but the person fell in line with the train of their own accord, why am I expected to express sympathy when said person committed the ultimate expression of their individuality?

    Because your constructs based on religion and society do not govern everybody, you need step away from looking at it through the religious and societal mores that tell you suicide is “wrong”and examine it from an abstract construct such as that which is individualism.

    On the other hand, if your concern is in regards to what would lead someone to take their own life, and not the act itself, you might have an argument that I should express sympathy at the cause for their decision. But it then still assumes that their decision was wrong and I’m in authority to impose my perspective on that person’s state of being.

    eh…I liked the poem, though it sounds like I’m killing you for it.

    You personally know that I just don’t like the depth people at times go to in analysis of their world. You can always go deeper instead of stopping at the surface…

  9. Hey Charles, thanks for your comment, but I have to say that I wholeheartedly disagree with you. The empathy evoked in the poem has nothing to do with societal and religious views about whether suicide is right or wrong. In regards to your second point, having sympathy for their decision does not have anything to do with judging the rightness or wrongness of their decision. For example, I might feel sad for someone who has to start a program in a new country and leave their family behind, although its the right decision to make. Sympathy does not only come to a wrong decision.

    I obviously don’t believe in suicide, but I am also saying that my personal beliefs on the wrongness of suicide did not have a part to play in this poem. In response to what you said abut individuality, that is erroneous as well. If you think about this in terms of free will, like someone deciding to sign a contract, as an expression of individuality, you would be wrong. Suicide is more like signing a contract under duress. There is pressure attached, and the person feels like that is their only choice. People don’t kill themselves for fun. In that case, the appropriate response is empathy as to the depth of their emotions and problems that led to that decision, rather than a respect for individualism, which is not really present here.

    I agree with you that works should go past the surface, but in this instance, empathy was all there was to it, in my opinion 🙂 You always bring out the lawyer in me, Charles 😉

  10. “For example, I might feel sad for someone who has to start a program in a new country and leave their family behind, although its the right decision to make. Sympathy does not only come to a wrong decision.”
    ^^^my question is why do you feel “sad” for them? I’m asking you to tell me why you would have sympathy for that person instead of the deeper empathy. And if you had empathy, instead of the superficial sympathy, why? What do you care? What’s your stake? Do you yourself know what makes you tick in order to try and do the impossible, which is feel someone else’s experience? Have you ever explored yourself in that manner, or do you just go about sympathizing and/or empathizing without a second thought as to what’s in your constitution that compels you to do that?

    You equated suicide to a contract signed under duress. Besides the fact a contract signed against the will can be contested, rendered null, be broken, or followed through until its terms are met and it expires, whereas suicide is final, I’d ask you to define ‘duress’. Regardless of the definition proffered, it’s going to be subjective. If it’s then subjective, how do you then judge the rightness or wrongness of their personal decision to do something to their own self that by no means infringes on anyone else’s personal liberty? Are you not then imposing your value system upon them? Isn’t that tyrannical?

    There is no individualism in suicide? You’re going to have to quantify that. Are you familiar with such things as do not resuscitate orders, living wills, passive euthanasia such as physician assisted suicide and the constitutional issue regarding the right to die? You know I can suggest some reading on this subject.

    • I give up Charles. Arguing with you is like preparing for an exam. Haha. I will just have you know that in the specific case of suicide that we were talking about; I would have won. We can take this outside sometime in the future :p and just know that anytime I said sympathy, feelings of empathy and putting myself in the person’s situation would have applied- I just mentioned the two. I will tell you in the future, the specific ways that I am right and you are wrong, but for now, I just got a headache reading your response :p

  11. There is no “right” or “wrong” when it comes to the topic of suicide specifically. That’s what I was trying to impart. There’s a different way to view suicide that people do not see because they’re stuck using their preconceived notions about it…and that’s where we get into “right” or “wrong” territory.

    “…anytime I said sympathy, feelings of empathy and putting myself in the person’s situation would have applied”
    That sounds like conflation. Sympathy is not synonymous with empathy. They are separate things that are not interchangeable. So saying empathy would also apply when mentioning the act of sympathy is off.

    If you had a headache, that’s good. You’re thinking.

    • I know there’s a difference between sympathy and empathy. Sympathy just belt feeling bad for someone and empathy being the ability to put yourself in the person’s shoes. Empathy kind of envelops sympathy so that’s why, wrongly, I was using both words. I was trying to indicate the general ability to understand someone else’s pain.

      And I mean that whether someone thinks suicide is wrong or not, one can still, and indeed, should still empathise with the pain of someone who feels the need to take his or her own life.

      And you make me think too much. So then I try to do dumb things afterwards 🙂

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