Motorways

Motorways
By Imran Ali

The roads stretch on, and on.
Young passengers are mesmerised,
Following the white lines, vanish
And reappear in quick concession,
Gradually dashing from their peripheral 
And lost beyond the trailing darkness. 

The others see a blur, roads and signs
Melt together in the rain. 
'Instinct', they say. 'Instinct' guides them
Along their journeys, when memory serves
As the true, boring beacon that lights their end. 
Generations share these dismal miles, 

Number-plates of new models
Indicate a youthful right; they feel
The urge to speed around the bends
And out of the dwindling view of old
Hatchbacks, puttering along, through
The smoke of exhaust. And yet, regardless

Of the one to pass, all acknowledge
The broken-down soul on the side. 
The driver departs his serene, smoking shell
And awaits to be taken away by the van
No-one finds as they proceed. Surely, he'll go
With more peace than the two-seater, totalled

And decrepit, lie in the path of others. 
Irony flashes above; 'Tired? Don't drive';
It mocks them all: the lorries, four-by-fours,
Saloons and coupes, from the speeders
To the learning. None saunter past such 
Wreckage without being swayed, yet

All continue down the road. Collectively
Acknowledge their fate on this elongating 
Strip of their journey; speeding, strolling,
Progressing in a languid catharsis, nevertheless.
All bound on the tarmac that lay, they journey
Above and under signs of the Motorway.