This is the Night Mail crossing the border,
Bringing the cheque and the postal order,
Letters for the rich, lettters for the poor,
The shop at the corner and the girls next door.
Pulling up Beattock, a steady climb:
The gradeient'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.
Birds turn thier heads as she approaches,
Stare from the bushes at her blank-faced coaches,
Sheep dogs cannot turn her course;
they slumber with paws across.
In the farm she passes no one wakes,
But a jug in the bedroom shakes.
Dawn freshens, the climb is done. down towards Glasgow she descends,
Towards the steam tugs yelping down the glade of cranes,
Towards the fields of apparatus of furnaces
Set on the dark plain like gigantic chessmen.
All Scotland waits for her:In dark glens, beside pale-green lochs
Men long for news.
Letters of thanks, letters from banks,
Letters of joy from girl and boy,
Receipted bills and invitations
To inspect new stock or to visit relations,
And applications for situations,
And timid lovers' declarations,
And gossip, gossip from all the nations,
News circumstantial, news financial,
Letters with holiday snaps to enlarge in,
Letters with faces scrawled on the margin,
Letters from uncles, cousins, and aunts,
Letters to Scotland from the South of France,
Letters of condolence to Highlands and Lowlands
Written on paper of every hue,
The pink, the violet, the white and the blue,
The chatty, the catty, the boring, the adoring,
The cold and official and the heart's outpouring,
Clever, stupid, short and long,
The typed and the printed and the spelt all wrong.
Thousands are still asleep,
Dreaming of terrifying monsters
Or of friendly tea beside the band in Cranston's or Crawford's:
Asleep in working Glasgow, asleep in well-set Edinburgh,
Asleep in granite Aberdeen,
They continue their dreams,
But shall wake soon and hope for letters,
And none will hear the postman's knock
Without a quickening of the heart,
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?