Train to the East (A Poem about Travelling)

Image: Arvind Balaraman /
Image: Arvind Balaraman /

I wrote this poem a while back, before I had children. Seeing differents parts of the world was something that was really important to me. I loved (and still do, though the opportunites have become less) the excitement and anticipation of discovering a new culture; a way of life that is different from my own. Travelling to another country has often left me with another sense of perspective; a renewed zest for life, particularly when I have interacted with the native people.

'Train to the East' is a poem I wrote whilst thinking about a young girl travelling around Asia. It is a fictional poem, not particularly based on my own experiences. I did, however, visit Bali and Lombok in Indonesia which left me with a great deal of wonderful memories. We travelled about for three weeks, making friends with a local boy who drove us to many amazing places. We visited his home, where his family sat outside carving wooden ornaments with hens clucking at our feet and a cow in the background. We trekked around paddy fields and saw people cultivating rice. We drove up mountain roads and passed remote villages where local children waved and called to us as we went by. I have a lovely memory of stopping for a while in one of these villages and sitting with some locals, none of whom could speak English, while someone played a guitar. It was far removed from the stresses and strains of our usual lives. Later on that day, a rather hairy moment occurred when the road we were travelling on was so high that we were completely engulfed by rain and mist and could barely see the road. That was particularly nailbiting, as we were very aware that the drop off the side of the road was heart-stoppingly enormous. Even worse, the young lad who was driving had only just passed his test! We survived, though, and spent the afternoon on a rowing boat in the rain visiting a temple.

Soon after this wonderful trip we had our first child and, so far, we have not visited anyway else in the East. However, it has always been a part of the world I would love to explore further. 'Train to the East' is not about myself as such, though the girl I imagine is travelling freely through amazing, culturally-rich lands, gaining insight and meeting welcoming people, just as I have dreamed of doing more of.

Image: Attila JNDI /
Image: Attila JNDI /
Image: Susie B /
Image: Susie B /
Image: Dino De Luca /
Image: Dino De Luca /

Train to the East

She took a train to the East,

Wearing sandals over dusty feet,

As she crossed eternal lands

There were workers in fields of yams.


The sun was amber and red.

As it fell and died, the colours bled.

A blazing blanket of truth,

It spread over her world like a roof.


She had beads placed in her hair,

And dressed in sarongs, light as the air,

As she strolled through crowded streets,

She was looking for people to meet.


The mountains towered like kings.

The flowers and trees began to sing.

There were monks, temples and yaks,

And families with babies on backs.


Melodies tugged at her heart.

The call of pipes; the magic of art,

Intricate carvings were born

With the wonder of each new dawn.


The journey home was mundane.

She covered familiar terrain

And in her mind was a song

Of a world which let her belong.

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Comments 18 comments

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foreignpress 6 years ago from Denver

A wonderful poem. It reminds me of traveling in the Near East. I took a train from Munich, where it was snowing horribly, to Athens and, at 2 a.m. had my first souvlaki. It was a totally different world. I lived in a cave on Mykonos, sampled some of the best rice pudding ever, and encountered many young Greeks who longed to see the world as I was. Then, as a disheveled vagabond, I hopped a ferry to Brindisi, a port that dates to antiquity. I'm envious that you live in a part of the world where there's such ready access to so many cultures. Thanks for the great insight.

Polly C profile image

Polly C 6 years ago from UK Author

Thanks foreignpress, I've always loved travelling and often it's the simple things that leave me with the best memories, like an encounter with a local or just observing another way of life. It sounds like you have had some great experiences too. Thanks for reading.

alternate poet profile image

alternate poet 6 years ago

nice simple language that expresses the travel thingy better, I did not like the rhythm at first but I was jolting along with you on your train by the second verse :D

Polly C profile image

Polly C 6 years ago from UK Author

Alternate poet, thank you for reading and for your comments, very much appreciated! I'll be off to read yours in a bit :)

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

Hi, Polly, this really expressed how it is to travel. loved it. I know what you mean about travelling in a car, or in my situation, a bus in a foreign country and going past a very very steep slope! I told my friend, when we were in Kos, greece, to tell me when we were past the hairy bit, I closed my eyes and held my breath. What did she do? she yelled in a very loud voice 'Oh my God'! Thanks very much, I told her, so she said ' I never told you when we were there!! she didn't have to, by that time I was having a nervous breakdown... ha ha thanks nell

Polly C profile image

Polly C 6 years ago from UK Author

Hi Nell,thanks for your comment, I loved it, lol! I can just imagine you in that car with your friend - I remember another occasion in Morocco with exactly the same sort of roads and there were actually old cars at the bottom that had fallen off and just been left. Not that I want to put you off travelling or anything...sorry!! Thanks for reading :)

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tlmntim9 6 years ago

I like your poetry of the east!


Polly C profile image

Polly C 6 years ago from UK Author

Hi tlmntim, thank you for reading and commenting! :)

kaltopsyd profile image

kaltopsyd 6 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

Nice. I felt like I was there with your character. Now I feel like travelling. RIGHT NOW, although it's 4:33 in the morning. haha and I need to be awake in a few hours. That's the effect your poem had on me.

Polly C profile image

Polly C 6 years ago from UK Author

Hi kaltopsyd - I know how you feel, it doesn't take much to set me off thinking about travelling - not that I've done much of it lately (gets expensive with children on tow, you know!). Can't believe you're reading this at 4.33 in the morning - and I thought I went to bed late!! Thank you for reading :)

celinewayne profile image

celinewayne 6 years ago

what a wonderful poem.

i enjoy reading "train to the east" thanks for sharing =)

nice layout and pictures, overall it's a very nice hub. i like it!

Polly C profile image

Polly C 6 years ago from UK Author

Hi celinewayne, thank you for your compliments, I'm pleased you enjoyed the poem. The photos are quite new, I gave it a face lift! I think you are one of the first to see them. Anyway, thanks for reading, I appreciate it :)

cartloop profile image

cartloop 6 years ago from Sacramento

Beautiful poem. Thinking even more about taking that trip I have been planning. Thank you.

asd 6 years ago

tae kayu mga bobo

annmackiemiller profile image

annmackiemiller 5 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

really beautiful - thanks for sharing it. voted up awesome and beautiful

Polly C profile image

Polly C 5 years ago from UK Author

Thank you, annmackiemiller, really pleased you liked it :)

asmaiftikhar profile image

asmaiftikhar 5 years ago from Pakistan

Voted up dear!

Polly C profile image

Polly C 5 years ago from UK Author

Thank you, asmaiftikhar :)

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