Wednesday, June 2, 2010

To Trains

To Trains

To trains, there is no time, only stops and people.
All trains know is what happens aboard them,
around them. Instead of weather, passengers,
how many, what type. The first dark suits
that will return later, quieter. The uniformed children
pushing, laughing, hunched under bags strapped
to their backs. The old women, folded scarves
and bags of bread. The next stop, and the next,
fifty-five on, twenty off. No anticipation of the end
of the line, and still it arrives. Deep patience,
no fatigue. To trains, passengers communicate
by not speaking, except in spurts. Passengers
let their eyes crawl up and around the insides
of the trains. Or they hold books and sheets
of grey newspaper beneath their faces, close
to their bodies. The next stop, seventeen off and
one hundred and four on, compressed within
the car. Observing the behavior of humans
is a hobby, to trains. The way they try to get small
in themselves, breathing lightly to preserve
their tightly-packaged forms. The tension
in their jaws and shoulders, and then the way
their faces open at reaching their stop. Thirty on,
none off. The words mothers murmur to
crying babies, shh, almost there, almost there.


  1. As Ron Sexsmith says in a song: "All our lives, we wait on trains."

  2. After I read your poem, I clicked on the photograph and laughed, loving the "play" on words you made of the phrase, to trains.

  3. feel like I was there too...


  4. Love this to pieces. Especially these lines:

    let their eyes crawl up and around the insides
    of the trains.

    (such poetry!)

    And the last line is masterful.

    Also, I enjoyed your poem structure, it felt like a moving train to me, crammed in with all those people.

  5. Oooh! I love the speed of the poem as if the train were choo-chooing right along with the poem. Keeping time to its meter. Masterful, really.


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