This is the Night Mail crossing the border,

Bringing the cheque and the postal order,

Letters for the rich, letters for the poor,

The shop at the corner and the girl next door.

Pulling up Beattock, a steady climb:

The gradient’s against her, but she’s on time.

Past cotton-grass and moorland boulder

Shovelling white steam over her shoulder,

Snorting noisily as she passes

Silent miles of wind-bent grasses.

‘Night Mail’ by WH Auden

Except that it isn’t going to any more. There’s no romance, and very little logic- beyond short term gain- in the night fleet of lorries, spewing extra pollution and clogging the early morning roads.


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