Poems of the Week

Going East Gone West

by Julia Griffin

“Orient Express to axe UK section after 41 years due to Brexit”
The Guardian

In 1883, that sleek success
Thrillingly named The Orient Express
First left from Paris, heading for Stamboul.
Some ninety years, sublimely chic and cool,
It ran through Strasbourg, Munich, Budapest,
Or else Milan, Sofia, and the rest
(The southern route). Fine passengers would sip
Champagne for days; then things began to slip.
The route was cut: to Bucharest—to Wien—
And lastly altogether. Change the scene;
Move on a century: a new OE,
Tricked out with classy, cast-off wagons lits,
Processed from London down to Venice (scrap
Of that first splendid journey!). Now the map
Contracts still further: thank those Brexiteers
Through whom a ride assured for forty years
Is closed to London. What a dismal mess—
The latest, although not, I’m moved to guess,
Last Murder of the Orient Express.