Monthly Archives: June 2016



It had been a rare week, an extremely rare week

Just after the summer solstice

That’s how the week started

And in rare synchrony with it the strawberry moon


And then

It had been a rare night, an extremely rare night

With thunder and lightning, and the lightning so strong

Thus making the night-sky so bright

That you started to wonder if it was really night


And then

The rain came, a lot of rain came

And flooding happened, and there was so much water

That some tube stations were closed

And it took longer to make your way to work


And this

Was Referendum-Day, a precarious day

And as a result precarious results came in

A tiny majority were saying they didn’t want a share

With the countries they are surrounded by


And so

It became a rare morning, a rare and precarious morning

Filled with daze and disbelief

Would it have been easier for communication

To refer back to Shakespeare

And ask on the ballot paper ‘To Be or Not to Be together’

This was really the Question

And then to ask yourself

What happens to your being, and can you be at all

If you were alone.                                                                       © Ursula Troche, 6.16

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Collective Whole

Concurrent stories were these

That intermingled nicely with my Eulogies:


It was also Windrush Day

A day that commemorates Carribeans on demand

Because they had to, they had been asked to

And so they came before Europe

See here (and hear) the echoes of the title

‘They came before Columbus’

Important book by Ivan van Sertima

And now we all come


In solidarity

With each other

In honour

Of each other’s contribution to our Collective Whole!


Long may this solidarity continue

And long may this awareness rise

And these connections be recognised

And become our Collective Conscious

As we became Londoners



It was also Refugee Week

Feel the impact

Don’t forget the weak

And make us strong


Consider their status is ‘Leave to Remain’

And so we must remain

And become

Together again


Long may this solidarity continue

And long may this awareness rise

And these connections be recognised

And become our Collective Conscious

As we became Londoners

Together.                                                                      © Ursula Troche, 6.16

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The Moscow Express Memory Project

My Moscow Express (Memory Project): I remember a quite spectacular train from my childhood days: a daily Express train that came all the way from Moscow – on a direct train line! It was so spectacular because we lived in the West, ie. on the other side of the Iron Curtain, which was the big divider at that time. A connection East to West and  then again West to East was hard to come by, and therefore amazing! Where


we were, was West Germany then, and then there was this phenomenal train from the Eastern Bloc that came through our little town! And it ran on regular schedule throughout the Cold War, it went ‘through the Wall’ each time it was on its way to the respective Other Side! That that was possible is now considered so surreal that people sometimes find it hard to believe when I mention it. I would love to delve further into the history of the train and find out what happened there, who was on it (because I don’t think many people could take it, bearing in mind our then Super-power-separation-imposition (was the train full of spies I wonder…)) It was called the East-West Express and it ran between Moscow and London (or Hoek van Holland, but on the time table the ferry was included so you could go straight through the whole continent , so tp speak). So that’s a long distance and that means it’s long line, with other big stops on the way, such as Minsk. Why I call it the Moscow Express is because that’s how far it went and because its carriages were Soviet style: a olive- green with a yellow-ochre stripe in the middle (I think some old British train cars oddly and amazingly have the same design!).

Our stop on the line in my childhood was Löhne – that’s where we lived then. Löhne is   a small town between Hannover and the Dutch border. It so happens that it is is also on one of the major train routes between the North and the South, which meant that the little town of Löhne is a major railway junction – and that’s also why it’s mentioned in the anti-war novel All Quiet on the Western Front, who mentioned how he had to change trains here (Eric Maria Remarque, 1928). And so the whol history of this town is connected to its position on these long long lines of trains in all the four cardinal direxctions, with the East-West link being the longest and most spectacular (though from 1968 trains no longer stopped here but only ran through; but I still remember well their remarkable look when they did come all the way from the Soviet Union). So, a daily direct link with Moscow, and Minsk along the way. I don’t know how long it took at the border by the Wall in Berlin – I would love to know. This is why I would love to hear from people who took this magic train!

The train line of course still exists – here is a map of train routes I found on the internet, going to Moscow (and other former Soviet destinations) from Berlin. This is the more recent version of the train services running further to the east of Moscow, whilst the West is cut out of this map (Löhne is to the west of Berlin, off the map) – so whilst the network is bigger here, the connection to the west has been, ironically, picsOne ut 366  In May of this year I decided to travel along this train route (as I already had to go to Berlin, to perform at the annual Fountainhead Black International Film Festival). From there, i decided to go as far as was possible without needing a visa: and that is Terespol. Terespol is at the eastern end of Poland, so it’s the last stop in the EU – the country that comes after this is now Belarus, formerly Russia, formerly the Soviet Union – or, in other words, the country where Marc Chagall comes from! The first town that you would reach in Belarus is Brest – and in fact, Teresol and Brest are almost a bit like East and West Berlin, they are twins, sitting very close together, but with a big border in the middle.

What I found, however, when taking the old Moscow Express train route this time round, is that the train is no longer direct, at every big stop along the line you have to change, and so you no longer see the Soviet train but just local ones, which run from one border to another but not across them – except the smaller borders within the EU. So, a train to the west of would end in Berlin (just like the train line map shows), then the next section on the line ends in Warsaw, the next train further east 

 ends in Terespol (as far as I went), and so on. So here is the irony: back in the day, when the Wall was standing there was a train that went all the way train, and now that the Wall is gone, there is no such connecting service. The train went with the Wall…. The crazy contradictions of our times…

Going to Terespol was nevertheless a big and magic (borderline!) experience! Like a North Pole, a South Pole, East or West Pole (let’s call it Earthpol!),  I set off that

morning from Biala Podlaska (about half way between Warsaw and Terespol)

and a big taste of Eastern style, and arrived here:

with houses and buildings and traditional Russian style, such as this beautiful blue orthodox church. And even many of the ordinary houses are built in this style. mobile picsOne ut 1001

with magic orthdox crosses of two sorts – the latter looking to me like a lovely cross between a Japanese zen sign and a railway signal!

I had never forgotten about the East West Express but since I moved from West to East London – a little distance within western London but with its own adventures and stories attached  – I think about it much more often. Directions can have mystical and bewildering effects! Since my trip I have been writing poems etc about this my beloved considered surreal train, so there I’ll post more here about the border cross/ing experience, and how to break through it as the train had done! – though now there are even more brders to cross, in more sense than one…

with different postcolonialities, different colours, different lines, different trains (of thought) to invent…