Night Rails

I don’t know about you, but my dreams are often rooted in my late teens and early twenties, which does rather suggest this was a pivotal time in my brain’s development. This is slightly worrying, given how much beer was being consumed at the time.

Trains, and things that can go wrong on trains, are a massive recurring theme. I am forever chasing around labyrinthine railway stations trying to find platforms that don’t exist, zooming past my stop, accidentally abandoning luggage, losing friends in shape-shifting carriages… I rarely travel by train these days, which is no surprise.

Anyway, here I am, putting in yet another nightshift on Great Western Railways. I should get paid for this.

Night Rails

At night, the trains roll in,
and I run the warp of the concourse
bagged down by luggage. Around me,
to the fizz of missed announcements,
stairways stretch and extend
like the veins of a living labyrinth.
These are the same treads I chased
decades ago, when the rails boot-laced
the two sides of my life. But now,
I am a broken node, a traveller out of time,
tuned to the beep of the door buttons,
yet two beats afloat.
Some nights, when the points align,
the train doors open, and the dark
grants me a seat. For a moment,
we drive the lines together.
But the tracks soon curve
to steal my purpose, the signs
morph to hieroglyphs, and I am stuck,
hitched to my early adulthood, looping
from Coventry to Castle Cary,
destined only ever to change
at Reading.


First published by Snakeskin Poetry


Follow me on Facebook: or sign up to the WordPress feed on this blog for regular poetry fixes!

Living on Mars in a Lava Tube

I’m fascinated by the possibilities of the universe, and by space exploration. But it always strikes me as odd that we get so excited about possible places which are “fit for human habitation” on other planets. These “habitable” places are, of course, still fraught with the most horrific challenges.

It was recently suggested, for instance, that humans could live in the massive ancient lava tubes which snake beneath the surface of Mars. Which initially sounds like some kind of permanent funfair lifestyle in a jazzy Martian flume. But what kind of existence would it be really? Dark, airless, hostile – and probably hundreds of other depressing adjectives.

Could we not perhaps try cleaning up our act, limiting our population growth, and staying on lovely, LOVELY Earth? Would that be SO mad??

Living on Mars in a Lava Tube

Living on Mars in a lava tube?
What fun, my dears, what fun!
We’ll surf on the flows, and then maybe – who knows –
we will gather when day is done
to remember the sea and the sun.

Living on Mars in a lava tube –
no actual lava, you say?
Just vacuum and dust in the cold of the crust
and the dark? Still, a great place to stay
as we cower from cancer all day.

Living on Mars in a lava tube –
it’s so smashing to know that we could!
If we poison our sky—never mind! We’ll just fly
to this welcoming new neighbourhood.
Hooray! It’s a plan then. Sounds good.

First published by Light Magazine in its Poems of the Week feature.


If you enjoyed this, why not follow my Facebook page? I post plenty of poetry-related stuff… but not too often.

From Dovecote Hill

Just on the edge of my home town of Bruton, Somerset, lies Dovecote Hill (and yes, it does have a dovecote on it!) From there, you can see the whole town, which, for most of my childhood at least, formed most of my world. So for me, it’s a place of great nostalgia… and for longing for simpler times.

From Dovecote Hill 

From Dovecote Hill, my thoughts spill down on drowsy mill-town streets
and run the maze of alleyways where once my youthful feet
traced winding paths around the huddled houses that complete
this view of all I knew and loved
from Dovecote Hill.

The fields were loving ramparts shielding us from drifting mists
of worldliness – as if this town were all that might exist,
so we grew up as slowly as the silver river twists
through all I see, from here above
on Dovecote Hill.

This frantic, anxious world conspires to see my spirit crawl
and falter, courage crippled by the hugeness of it all.
One sight could help me find once more the strength of being small –
this view of all I knew and loved
from Dovecote Hill.

Like the poems? Why not follow me on Facebook?

Can’t wait for the snows!

My first poetry request! Just for Bec Connock and Andy Down, a poem about winter sports. This one must have been already lurking deep within me, as within 15 minutes of the request, it tumbled into my notebook like poo from a poodle.

Now, I’m just not a fan of cold weather, adrenaline sports, wearing silly clothes or spending half my annual salary in a week, so skiing and snowboarding are definitely not my bag. But hey, if they do it for you, then happy days. However, this little rhyme is dedicated to those who take their winter sports WAY too seriously. And feel obliged to share. every. detail.


Can’t wait for the snows

Can’t wait for the snows! Can’t wait for the snows!
I’ll fall down a hill in ridiculous clothes!
But shall I fall down it on two planks or one?

Two sounds amazing, but one sounds such fun!

Can’t wait for the season! Can’t wait for the season!
I’ll wear fuschia pink for no obvious reason!
And hang out in bars with instructors called Lars,

Drink stupid cocktails and talk out my arse.

Can’t wait for the crashes! Can’t wait for the crashes!
I’ll post lots of pics of my bruises and bashes.
But what shall I do, shall I pop out my shoulder,

Or fall off a ski-lift and land on a boulder?

Can’t wait for the spring! Can’t wait for the spring!
You’ll think it’s all over, but NO, no such thing –
I’ve got loads of films (got a headcam, remember?)

I’ll bore you to tears up until next December.


©️ Nina Parmenter 2017

Like the rhymes?
Why not follow me on Facebook or Twitter


A plea to the ladies of France

Unsurprisingly, the inspiration for this one was a holiday in the South of France. I was simply in awe of the local ladies – they seemed a different species to sweaty, bedraggled me. You can see in my little thumbnail here, which was taken in Nimes, the elegance of me compared to the elegance of the lovely, composed lady posing for a photo behind me.

One day at the beach, there was one particular, very beautiful lady who sat down on a low wall which surrounded the beach – a wall that must have been covered in sand – wearing a white linen dress. When she arose, the dress remained both unstained and uncrinkled.

At that point, I knew something had to be done. And I did it via the medium of humorous poetry. Take that, immaculate lovely French ladies.


A plea to the ladies of France

On the South Coast of France,
We Brits love a chance
To enjoy all the sunshine and class,
But, dear French ladies, please,
While we’re loving your cheese,

There’s a few things we’d just like to ask.

First, please could you get
Up a bit of a sweat,
As we Brits dissolve into a mess?
In the blazing hot weather,
Don’t your thighs stick together,

Beneath that divine, skimpy dress?

Now, a week in a cossie
Surrounded by mozzies
Will get a Brit frantically scratching,
So please could you show –
Even just on one toe –

Some signs of allergic reaction?

Your clothes should be shabby,
Your mood must be crabby,
Your tops must have underarm tidemarks,
Your man should be chubby,
Your children quite grubby,

Your clothing should all be from Primark.

Just these few little tweaks,
And we’ll feel magnifique,
As we come, pink and sweaty and bitten
To the beautiful shores
of the grand Cote d’Azur –
Yours faithfully,
Women of Britain.
©️ Nina Parmenter 2017
Like the rhymes?

Why not follow me on Facebook or Twitter