Observations Upon Missing My Train

Source

The cries of the gulls 

All my life 


Missed my train 

I am given this time 


The smile of the woman 

Who noticed 


The cries of the gulls 

Family 


In another language 

All my life 


The young tough boys 

I am given this time 


The final release of 

Inevitability 


The cries of the gulls 

Missed my train 


The scratch 

On the young man’s forehead 


The aimless walk 

All my life 


The cries of the gulls 

The lottery ticket 


They don’t know 

What this train is 


Missed mine 

I am given this time 


The empty plastic 

Whiskey bottle 


The Danish woman who 

Asks what train this is 


All my life 

The dangerous graffiti 


The dirt 

The colorful falling leaves 


Endless steel frames 

Missed my train 


All my life 

The cries of the gulls 


There is an ocean 

I am given this time 


All my life 

Missed my train 



Source

I was there on time. There should have been plenty of time. But I knew as I sat at the trolley stop for fifteen minutes, I was off that morning. Something not quite in balance. Usually I can walk down the hill as the trolley pulls up. It is a knack I have - kind of a talent.

The trolley came with no apology for tardiness, the conductor merely nodding at my pass as though nothing were wrong. At 6:18am I knew chances were slim of making the connection, but I would try. And if I didn’t make it, that was okay. But no, I would make my connection, punch my clock, earn my pay.

At 6:26am we pulled into Copley Station. I left it in the hands of the Universe whether I would make the train. I would not run, since my knees do not like it, but walked briskly, straight past Starbucks, into the station, down the escalator to the platform ... just as my train pulled away.

There must be a reason, I thought. Everything for a reason.

I set out in search of a reason. I now had plenty of time since the next train was at 7:45am. Outside, the air was fresh under the overcast sky, as gulls wheeled overhead. Their cries brought back childhood memories of unwilling solitude and the gulls that cried far out over the water, their appeals echoing through my emptiness.

Touched by the memory so deep, I became more present in the moment. I realized that everything around me was unique and temporal, something only for now. I began to record my thoughts as a reporter on the now, and the poem above resulted.

There were the gulls, the young man with the scratch on his forehead that brought me my coffee, the perhaps Pakistani family on the train platform, the young woman with the Nordic accent who asked me which way the trains go, and the woman who noticed me notice her and smiled without eye contact.

Sometimes I feel that is a metaphor for my life: Life smiles without eye contact as she passes.

Maybe she’d let me buy her a cup of coffee sometime. Maybe she could tell me a story that I could remember.

I commute by bicycle, train, or sometimes by car. How do you commute?

  • By train
  • By bus
  • By car
  • By bicycle
  • By foot
  • By boat
  • By means other than above
  • By a combination of means
  • Don't commute
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Comments 10 comments

sugz profile image

sugz 4 years ago from Quakeville... Christchurch, New Zealand

intriguing... :)


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 4 years ago from United States

I missed my commuter train and met my husband (a conductor) so everything happens and unfolds each day as it should - was my thought as I read this - even missing a train. Enjoyed the pictures and the poem.


RGNestle profile image

RGNestle 4 years ago from Seattle

My wife and I were 15 minutes ahead of our train leaving. The train was sitting on the tracks, but the automated kiosks wouldn't sell us a ticket and the only ticketing agent had left his station so we couldn't buy there either. He even said that we were late, but the clock behind him when he returned said we still had five minutes before the train was to leave.

Nothing out of the ordinary happened to the train or on out way down to Seattle in the car (that being the way we had to go as an alternative). The only thing that did happened was my wife and I missing our first ride on a train. Maybe someday.

Sometimes things just happen; no matter how annoying they are. 'Time and unforeseen circumstances befall all men,' as the Bible says.

So what's up with trains failing to be punctual. Times were that you could set your watch by the train, now they seem to have caught the lethargy bug and just don't care.

At least we still got to see our friends.

Thanks for the Hub!


Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 4 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

Enjoyed this so much, straight from the opening photograph you took of the train. Quite an intricate poem, the repetition of the line "all my life", no punctuation so that there was flow and layering - could read it quite a few different ways, each giving a new perspective - random images and thoughts trickling through, making up the whole. Just lovely.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 4 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon

I love those moments of unwanted freedom, unhinging from schedule by force and the only thing left is to be patient and enjoy the moment. I especially liked how the gulls reminded you of an empty space in your life. I am a loner and even the unpleasantness of being alone sometimes puts me into a reflective mood. Looks like that's what happened here?


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 4 years ago from United States Author

Thanks, Sugz!

What an excellent result of missing a train, Jerilee!

RG, I was late, not the train, but the trains are kind of iffy. Most of the engines are 40 years old or older at this point. But I'm not complaining. The train from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi leaves on average 4 hours late.

Thanks so much, Frieda, for seeing so much in my work.

Alexander, surprise freedom is a wonderful thing. Thank you!


RGNestle profile image

RGNestle 4 years ago from Seattle

It is good to find something positive in what could seem to be a negative though. Time to think and ponder would be nice to have again.

Keep writing these great Hubs! Take care!


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 4 years ago from United States Author

Time is a precious commodity, isn't it? Thank you again!


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

I'm going to start carrying a pen and paper when i travel, maybe i can write thought poetry like you. Enjoyed..Thank you.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 4 years ago from United States Author

I like to do that, too. Often a phrase will catch me - I will catch myself turning it over in my mind, or like this poem a few phrases will strike chord for me. But I find if I don't write part of it down quick, many times I might forget it. So I like to write them down. Thank you, Ruby :)

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