When you wake with trains
you can only guess at the burdens
they carry. No engineer pulls
the horn long except as portent,
as omen to a crossing — genuflection
at the mouth of possibility.
Who’s to say what gets dragged
through the plains before dawn,
maybe Canadian wood — plank —
maybe the stiff prayers of our days
mumbled ‘til mute, quartersawn,
strapped down and rumbled.
(Maybe the sweet distillates
of commerce, maybe blood)
Who’s to say. Who’s to say
what lofty freight, what import
drives the engineer’s hand
to blare this passage
In such a way as to rally the dogs
of night in a beckoning. Is it safe
to say that those whose ears
are perked to this, whose eyes
cannot mark such iron clear sense
something in the howls they fear.
Image: Johannes Plenio on Unsplash
There is something comforting yet mysterious about trains. Lovely poem.
Yes, Eugenia, and thank you. To me, train horns always seem to make night air more voluminous, and however close they seem mournfully distant.
Yes, I agree.
I love how you can take something as boring and mundane as a plank of wood and enchant it with words.
Funny that you mention “plank”, because I was stalled in writing this piece and needed a word to propel it forward. I wrote “plank” as a placeholder for when I returned to the poem. LOL. Ultimately I left it in for the “finality” embodied in its sound.
Journeying again as we listen to the lonesome whistle of the train.
lol, journeying, yes journeying. I can think of nothing else better to do.
This is a lovely descriptive and bit of an eerie/provocative piece.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend. 🤗Joni
Thank you. Train horns seems to signal their own particular longing.
You are most welcome. Your work intrigues me. Your work is different but really draws one in. This is my interpretation, I hope you don’t mind. I
Am certainly no scholar but I love poetry. Have an amazing evening my new friend. 🤗Joni
You have an amazing evening as well.