At midnight, to observe the scratched engines
Of old trucks, by the industrial loneliness
Of a stop sign, stall, judder, grind, wrench, wince
Like enfeebled muscle, and then the loose
Rattle of each bolt, and in the silence
That follows, their jocked gears punch the emptiness
That is thisgreat and melancholy still,
Is to hear the pointless triumph of the will.
Once new, now to this black and acrid air
Skulking metal, the steel sinew and spine
Clinking as some truck cranks down to third gear
And slips over the pass, is ill-spent space:
Lurching past rain-dark fields, line after line
The headlights glide over, going someplace.
'Overnight Freight' from The Life and the Dark (Auckland University Press, 2004), © Richard Reeve 2004, used by permission of the author and the publishers.
Poet’s private recording 2011.