My Signal Box

19 Apr 2024 | Believers | 0 comments

The signal box sometimes feels like one of those

invitation tests: go to the wilds, endure

the emptiness of yourself and return reformed.

Confront that which is most you: stray to the dark

realm of your bruised heart and let the light in,

let the grand voice of silence you have always ignored

clear its throat and speak to your newly known smallness.


Maybe silence, like loneliness, is powerful

because it demonstrates what isn’t there. It gives

you that rare thing, distance, from the safe projection

of yourself into everything, everyone.

Would that you might love, no, not yourself, for once,

but love so freely of caveats, conditions,

a whole thing released from us who might constrain it.


Ezra Miles, The Signalman, London, The Spring Press Group, 2023, pp. 28 & 22.

Notes from the Compiler

When not writing poems, Ezra Miles works as a railway signalman. Tom Branfoot explains: 'Written during an isolating period of working in a rural signalbox in Lincolnshire, these poems are those of a saint in hermitage.' He speaks to me in my enduring temptation to be dogged by 'self-reference'.


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