Prophet on the 259

Rebecca Novick
2 min readJul 13, 2019

When he got on the bus, his stench was enough

For all eyes to fall footward and arms to fold inward

Sainsbury’s bags stacked between rows of cold knees planning evenings as tables for tea and TV.

“We’re all sleeping!” he cried with the mountain bus groaning

As the wheels felt the weight of his message and bearing

“Our senses deceive us! Don’t trust what you see!”

A man in the aisle nods but cannot agree,

As our suspect and prophet, with grubby beard twitching,

breaks all of the contracts with suspicious diction.

Mobiles raised like the shields of a leaderless army

Deflecting the spears of the obviously barmy

With silence like gravestones, like rule books, like grown ups

Wishing him only away, away

Wishing him only away.

“Tomorrow, tomorrow, I’ll hear you tomorrow,

Today I toil in a field of tall sorrow,

Give me some time to come around,

Give me just one more day.”

But he, of the barrows, could no longer contain

What he’d learned in the marrow of the cold and the rain

“You are not what you think,” he went on to explain

And the eyes, oh the eyes they went down,

Down with the strain.

Three stops was the time that he spent on our bus,

With we who were never a we or an us

but a jangle of shadows in a tin box of time

In North London on board the 259.

He got off at the stop at Seven Sisters station

To a laugh and a sneer and a sighed incantation,

And normality flew to its usual perch

As the 259 continued to lurch.

“Tomorrow, tomorrow, I’ll wake up tomorrow,

Today I toil in a field of tall sorrow,

Give me the gift of one more round

Give me just one more day.”



Rebecca Novick

Health and travel writer, yoga instructor and eternal optimist with a love for Polyvagal Theory