Some have more to tell than others.
Something romantic, and beautiful,
more so in some, than others.

Cutting the world in two.
Always cleaving it into left and right, turn of the head.
Call to break fast over the tannoy.
Darkness already, on my left.
On my right, wordless orange,
slipping away,
into an opaque blue that’s always been there.
They bring us three dates in a little cellophane packet.

Curving now,
hairpin bends.
Wet empty of the tunnel clears to big skies.
Mountains, white rock and vast green of valleys.
Inside – dirty, aeons old.
Air outside, fresh and cool.
Despite the heat. Because of the speed.
Landmine warnings,
Pretty hills dotted in death.
We lean out of open windows, smoking.

World cut again,
this speed lacks reality.
Small, fog-shaped world,
edges unknown.
Our cabin hums with speed.
Yellow cranes coax tower blocks from concrete dust.
Millions of them.
Across this great, flat land.
I listen to children fighting over their sleeping mother.

Another moment between lights,
sun rising in the desert.
Slow this time.
Sinking through sand in the far west.
From cherry blossoms to sheep, and rock, and heat.
The violent light of day begins.
My companions rub their eyes,
offer me chicken feet and pickles.

Fires burn on the horizon.
No longer the sun.
Brilliant, life-affirming flecks,
of colour, and perhaps heat.
We reach velocity.
The smoke is dense,
and fails to fill its full potential.
We sit silent,
waiting to arrive.

Jacob Mardell is a postgraduate student of Chinese and an aspiring writer who dabbles in poetry, politics, and travel writing. His travel writing has been featured in The Telegraph, but is predominantly published on his own website, which has the confusingly similar name The Topograph.

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