The prairie yawned endless beige




only world

consuming his tiny town,

a dot in the sea of whispering wheat

Every day

the train--

puffing snorting rumbling

the earth a wave of sound

in his feet

the smoke trailing,

black cinders spewing ,

slicing wheels showering sparks,

rush of wild hot air blazing his little face

loooong eerie wail

shuddering the sagging station

clackety clack, clackety clack, clackety clack

the caboose telescoping--

then gone


It never stopped


He stood in the wind-wash

and the fading roar

and willed the train to stop--

screwed his eyes tight and willed it to stop

In his heart he knew

if he could make it stop

magical tigers and gossamer faeries,

satin magicians and endless rivers of chocolate

would flow from its bright doors

and gloss the sameness forever.

It never stopped


Now he was a man.

The whispering prairie still stretched around the tiny town

and a purring silver train whisked past

every day

so silently

most people

didn't even notice him

standing in the shadow of the collapsed station,

eyes screwed tightly


© clark cook.

Comments 13 comments

cynthtggt profile image

cynthtggt 3 years ago from New York, NY

Wow! The depth of this. Not as though anything else you've written lacked it, but the yearning in this piece, to be still within and reach into the deepest part of ourselves ("the sun stood still"). As you know, I am not a "poet" in your class but this one moved me like none other you've written. Good morning on March 7, 2013.

xstatic profile image

xstatic 3 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

This is such a good piece. Trains evoke emotions of yearning in many people I suppose, certainly in me. So many songs, so much poetry about this machine that puts distance between people, divides towns (right side and wrong side of tracks), and sometimes makes us want to be on board.

lilyfly profile image

lilyfly 3 years ago from Wasilla, Alaska

"The earth a wave of sound" This is where the true poet lives, and you know it. Anything I might say would be candified, but I must say, the train stopped right here, fella, all arrows up, facebook, etc. Much love to yaz, lily

Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

Thank you for this opportunity to reflect on this painting you have laid out,

moonfroth profile image

moonfroth 3 years ago from Rural BC (Canada) & N of Puerto Vallarta (Mexico) Author

Cynth, xstatic, Lily & Hat--

I'm delighted that this poem resonated to some significant rhythms of YOUR lives. Few of my poems are directly from my life; the first half of this one is. I spent my first five years on planet Earth in Alliance, Alberta (pop. about 500, if you counted the horses). I remember--at age 4--getting angry at my Dad for not making that damn train stop! Thank you for sharing the experience.

diogenes profile image

diogenes 3 years ago from UK and Mexico

Delighful, Clark, deserves an award, you are a wonderful poet and this is so true. I love the images the child calls to mind and desires.

Our lives. Just a train journey.

Bob xo

moonfroth profile image

moonfroth 3 years ago from Rural BC (Canada) & N of Puerto Vallarta (Mexico) Author

Thanks Bob for your gracious words, which I value.

profile image

Valleypoet 3 years ago

I like the way the poem reflects upon the childhood memories of the train, and all the sensory delights it brought with it...stimulating the child's then brings us to the present, a modern train, hardly any sound, no's here, then it's gone...did anyone notice it?....a fine poem:-))

moonfroth profile image

moonfroth 3 years ago from Rural BC (Canada) & N of Puerto Vallarta (Mexico) Author

Valley -- thank you so much. You've certainly captured the flow of the imagery....and its potential for broader applications. Thanks for the visit.

AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 3 years ago from California

So full of yearning--and I agree with others here, there is much depth to this piece--I love the story it tells and what a beautifully crafted piece Clark!!

moonfroth profile image

moonfroth 3 years ago from Rural BC (Canada) & N of Puerto Vallarta (Mexico) Author

Audrey -- Thanks so much.

jhamann profile image

jhamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

This has all the elements of great poetry told with a masters touch. Jamie

moonfroth profile image

moonfroth 3 years ago from Rural BC (Canada) & N of Puerto Vallarta (Mexico) Author

Thank you Jamie. Coming from a critic of your abilities, that's a complement I'll hold close.

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