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Prison Train

Updated on September 9, 2014

By: Wayne Brown


When I was a boy I use to sit and watch all the passing trains

Some hauled coal; some freight, one hauled men in chains



Prison train, prison train, you weigh heavy in my thought

Running to see you unload; see the men you brought

Prison train, prison train; old steam engine and two train cars

Guards with guns at the door; the windows dressed with bars



A dark old train that only carries men one way to incarceration

There’s never a man on board when freedom is your destination



Prison train, prison train, men fear your threatening sight

They fear that someday they will ride you away into their night

Prison train, prison train, we hear your lonesome whistle wail

Rolling along down the track taking more chained men to jail



A train ride to a cold dark cell; no man would ever pick it

But the judge raps his gavel and punches yet more tickets



Prison train, prison train, I feel you rumbling in my bone

I fear someday you’ll roll down the track taking me along

Prison train, prison train, in your mission there’s no shame

Does your lonesome whistle call out my very name?



Men stop their work to watch as you go rolling by

They see the men in chains; see the despair in their eye



Prison train, prison train, you are calling out my name

I know that soon I too will be chained upon your frame

Prison train, prison train, stop calling as you go on along

Let me live like the bird who sings freedom’s song



Then came that fateful day when temptation came my way

I threw caution to the wind and dived into the evil fray


Prison train, prison train, that sheriff done brought me in

The judge has ruled my guilt, now my sentence will begin

Prison train, prison train, looks like I’ll ride up in your cars

To take that long journey for my life behind the bars



© Copyright WBrown2011. All Rights Reserved.



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    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @ChristineVianello...Thanks for those good words. Sorr to take so long replying...been in Vegas and out of touch. WB

    • ChristineVianello profile image


      7 years ago from Philadelphia

      Great lyrics. Good work!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @bellawritter23...Oh No, Bella! There's no known cure! Thank goodness! Glad you enjoyed this one. I had Johnny Cash on the brain when I wrote it...guess that is why it is kind of like a song. You are most welcome and I promise to keep the good dope coming as long as I can! WB

    • bellawritter23 profile image

      Erica Sanchez 

      7 years ago from California

      Oh Mr. Brown, I am now addicted to your writing. the words you use just cast me under this spell and send me off into a daze into the lands of imagination. Thank you for the delightful and hunble read.

      smiles :)


    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I loved him too. He was one of those men who defied odds as far as survival went. The devil was in him for years trying to get him to destroy himself, but God got a hold of him, and, as is usually the way, held on relentlessly until Johnny had no choice but to surrender - and in surrendering his life that way, I think it freed him and opened his mind to TRULY see the beauty of our country, its history, and most importantly, its people. :)

      And, you're welcome, but through your writing, seems to me you're perfectly deserving of the compliment. And to withhold a compliment is as good as delivering an insult, so I spend them liberally when they're warranted. :-)

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @Motown2Chitown...Thank you for those wonderful comments. You humble me with a comparison as Cash is one of my heroes not only for his music but his intense interest in the history of this country and the people who make it up. He was truly one of a kind and will be an icon for time on. Thanks so much. WB

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Wayne, don't know if it's so much Cash and trains as it is Cash and But, I see what you mean. The genius of Johnny Cash was that his lyrics were simple and painfully honest, or brutally honest depending on which side of the song you happened to be standing. :-) Not a thing wrong with being compared to Johnny Cash, though, in my opinion. Loved that man, and loved his music. Being compared to him puts you among good company, and your poetry often evokes similar honesty and simplicity.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @FCEtier...I am starting to feel a bit like ol' Johnny with this comparison. Cash and trains just seem to go together like peas and carrots! WB

      @dahoglund...Thanks much DA...I take that as a great compliment! WB

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      It does have a J.Cash theme to it.

    • FCEtier profile image


      7 years ago from Cold Mountain

      I'm with the others....def reminds me of Johnny Cash! Nice work!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @Genna East...Maybe I'll find a way to be remember yet! LOL! Thanks so much for those good comments, Genna! WB

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Loved this poem; perfect rhythm and I keep hearing the melody of your great words in my head. Up and awesome.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @ahorseback...This is one of those subjects that I am sure Johnny and Merle both gave some thought to in their time. "Mama Tried" had to be nothing but the told by Mr. Haggard. He has written some might fine songs. Thanks much. WB

      @BenWritings...Thanks so much, Ben. I try very hard to keep my quality up and I try not to throw anything away too quickly. I have learned to let it go quicker now instead of continuing to nit-pick it. I am just glad that my stuff gets such a fine reception. I appreciate the good words! WB

      @Motown2Chitown...After you read my latest.."Playing For Peanuts", you probably will be convinced! LOL! WB

      @Truckstop Sally....No, I don't plan to ride on that long black train anytime soon. I'm not sure where the inspiration for this one came from. I was humming the tune to Johnny Cash's song, "Blue Train" when i got to thinking about this concept...and away we went. Thanks much. WB

      @breakfastpop...Stand back, I'm gonna sing one, Hoss! LOL! Thanks much, Poppy. WB

    • breakfastpop profile image


      7 years ago

      Honestly Wayne, I hear music when I read your work, I really do. Up and awesome.

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 

      7 years ago

      Haunting! Pulled at my heart strings. We don't want the train to take you away!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Ben, I think Wayne's secretly trying to work his way to Nashville. Either that or he's already there and fibbing about the whole Texas thing. ;-)

      He is right, Wayne. Your stuff is consistent, and that's worthy of praise and emulation. Keep going!

    • BenWritings profile image


      7 years ago from Save me from, Tennessee

      Awesome work Wayne.

      You are simply one of the best and most consistent writers on here.

      You continuously put out solid, well written work.

      I felt like this was a song.


    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Hi Wayne when I read this I though of two people , a couple of my heros Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard! Remember Wayne you're "Mam Tried".....! :-}

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @thebluestar...I guess you could say that this one is a bit more "tuneish" than some I write. Stephen King always said that the most important thing was to write about what you know. I don't know much about prison or trains but I know a little about both so I just combined the thoughts! LOL! I always try to write so that everyone can understand it as opposed to going for the hidden metaphor...not that I dislike that, I will use it but not when a subject is meaty enough to bring forth the emotion and imagery on its own. My score is dropping so you may overrun careful passing! LOL! WB

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 

      7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Do I see the possibility of a good old tune here Wayne? You never stop to amaze me with your poetry. You are one clever man my friend. MMM Still chasing lol

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @WillStarr...Thanks much sing it Hoss! LOL! WB

      @Motown2Chitown...This does get your Johnny Cash nerve a-twitchin'. The whole time I was writing it I was humming Cash's "Blue Train". Glad I could evoke some emotions for you with this one. WB

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Read it, loved it. Now, I can't get "Folsom Prison Blues" out of my head. BUT, that' okay. I love Johnny Cash. This was great, Wayne. I think I might have actually FELT this one.


    • WillStarr profile image


      7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Great lyrics Wayne!


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