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Heads or Tails

Updated on October 5, 2013
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I put my ear to the rail

Listening for the train coming down the track

I couldn't hear the rumble yet

But I knew it would be coming back

With the great engine pulling

And the caboose taking up the rear

The locomotive whistle blowing

Was the sound I waited to hear

I scanned the trees behind me

The place from which they might come

Filthy and begging for change

A hobo or a bum

The coast was clear so I took a break

And sat on an old rusty pail

But then I heard choo choo

And took a step over the rail

I flipped my silver dollar in the air

The one I planned to squash for good luck

I laid it heads down on the cold steel

Then went to move but my foot was stuck

Terror overwhelmed me

As I beheld the monster coming fast

But I could not free myself

It seemed my chance at luck had passed

Then I felt an arm wrap around my waist

And a hand grasped my leg

Then I looked up into transient eyes

And to God I began to beg

He lifted me up and yanked on my foot

And with a last effort he wrenched me free

A dirty old hobo as the train steamed past

But an angel was all I could see

He picked me up and brushed me off

And turned to walk away

"Excuse me sir...please don't go

Was all that I could say

I extended my hand to give him my coin

And he took it and said if I may

He handed it back and said I buy your promise

To never forget what you learned here today








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    • bizarrett81 profile image

      bizarrett81 4 years ago from Maine

      Awesome. Nice message of unexpected kindness and not judging a book by its cover. Voted up!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I like the ending twist. Humbling. sharing with followers.

    • Isaac White profile image

      TDM 4 years ago from Welcome to my beautiful world, where magic is no longer a myth.

      wow, what a great read, and truly interesting Wayne. I loved that you placed a message in the story. so, it gave it more interest. nice work. voted up.

      I. White

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you very much dear daughter : )

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      What a great story and message. Well done, Wayne! Loved it!

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you, Don...for the compliment and the share!

    • Theater girl profile image

      Jennifer 4 years ago from New Jersey

      The whole poem draws you in....but the ending is just a killer (sorry for the obvious)

      Great work!

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      There you very much, Isaac

    • dghbrh profile image

      deergha 4 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      The end is just awesome. Thanks for sharing this one. Shared and votes way up.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I especially liked the ending of your poem. As Billy said what a great message.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      What a wonderful message, Wayne. I'm wondering if the hobo was Jesus in disguise?

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you very much, Sir William. I'm just warming up for the contest! : )

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 4 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Wayne... what a great message and it took me back to the days when I used to squash coins as well. Monstrous steam engines came through our town. Great memories.

      Last year I was fishing in an isolated area and had to hike over a rail bed to get to the lake. I played a kid all over again and flattened all the coins I had in my pocket... smiles.

      Hugs and Blessings

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Hi, Jennifer. Thank you so much for the visit

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you, Deergha, for the compliment and the support!

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you, Susan!

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you, Sharon. actually I just see the hobo as a regular guy who luckily for the kid, has a good character. Of course, there are still the bad apples that you have to be on guard for, but we have to avoid stereotyping all because of a few.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thanks, Rolly. I have many of those memories as well...and have squashed my share of coins. : ) Boys will be boys!

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 4 years ago from Reno NV

      I love old trains and stories and poems about them. Thank you. Jamie

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you for the visit, Jamie!

    • Romeos Quill profile image

      Romeos Quill 4 years ago from Lincolnshire, England

      A good poem.There's something about the style,and mechanical workmanship of those old, metallic beasts that's sadly missing from todays ' A to B insipid rail transportation.

      Thanks for the welcome!

      Romeos Quill.

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you, Romeos!

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 4 years ago

      what an great poem Wayne...i remember those days - coins all over the tracks..

      but then- in grade 8 - a boy i went to school with lost half his foot after getting it caught in the track..

      that still makes me nauseous to think about...

      (gag)

      anyway - ahem - voting up and sharing my friend..

      LOL..

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you, Leslie! Even your comments are poetry. It's always beautiful to hear from you.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Enjoyed the ride on the rails. I used to love reading about the hobos riding the rails. Thanks for the memories. Passing this on.

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you, Rasma.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Wayne, that deserves an awesome, up, and share. You see, there is a valuable lesson here that Many would never see

      The truth is in the pudding

      And truly the infinite blessing

      Is in whom we really see.

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you, Deb. I appreciate the kinds words and the support!

    • D.Juris Stetser profile image

      D.Juris Stetser 4 years ago from South Dakota

      Nobility needn't always a crown....this is beautiful...a catch in the throat beautiful, Wayne. I love it...Voted Awesome, Beautiful, Up, and must be shared...Thank you so much.

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you, Dotti! I appreciate the kind words and the support.

    • James-wolve profile image

      Tijani Achamlal 4 years ago from Morocco

      Poetically speaking,This poem is excellent,it flows smoothly till the end.I like the usage of your tradition and religion to convey this message .Good work Sir.

      Have a wonderful weekend!

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      You're too kind, James. Thank you very much.

    • D.Juris Stetser profile image

      D.Juris Stetser 4 years ago from South Dakota

      lol sorry Wayne its me again. I meant to say Nobility needn't always wear a crown. sorry sir! I love this...carries a great message....

    • SkySlave profile image

      Skyler DeCristoforo 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Fantastic flow of poetry! I've always had a fascination with trains. I too could see myself getting a foot stuck in the track. A nice message. Thanks for the share.

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you, Skyler!

    • poetforlife profile image

      Marie Williams 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas.

      Wayne, you are an inspiration to me to dig deeper into myself and write expressive poetry. Thank you.

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thanks Marie. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 4 years ago

      Your poetic prose had everything Sir Wayne - evocative images and a wonderful narrative to fill up my cinematic mind and your 'words' beat the heck out of any 3-D movie and that's what great writers always do.

      Thank you for your support and friendship and like that Barbara Streisand song - People - "People who need people are the luckiest people in the world ...."

      Sending you warm wishes from Colin and his pussycats at lake erie time 2:03pm on a cloudy but mild early summer's day

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you very much Colin, my friend. I appreciate your kind compliments and the warm wishes from you and the kitties!

    • PHILLYDREAMER profile image

      Jose Velasquez 4 years ago from Lodi, New Jersey

      I think society forgets that God has a purpose for everyone. We are quick to turn a blind eye to those who might need our help, but thankfully not every person is wired that way.

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Jose! I appreciate the visit my friend!

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