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STOPPING TRAINS, a Poem

Updated on March 7, 2013


The prairie yawned endless beige

undulating

soundless

entire--his

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


shut.


© clark cook.

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    • moonfroth profile image
      Author

      Clark Cook 4 years ago from Rural BC (Canada) & N of Puerto Vallarta (Mexico)

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

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 4 years ago from Reno NV

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

    • moonfroth profile image
      Author

      Clark Cook 4 years ago from Rural BC (Canada) & N of Puerto Vallarta (Mexico)

      Audrey -- Thanks so much.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 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
      Author

      Clark Cook 4 years ago from Rural BC (Canada) & N of Puerto Vallarta (Mexico)

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

    • profile image

      Valleypoet 4 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 imagination....it then brings us to the present, a modern train, hardly any sound, no emotion.....it's here, then it's gone...did anyone notice it?....a fine poem:-))

    • moonfroth profile image
      Author

      Clark Cook 4 years ago from Rural BC (Canada) & N of Puerto Vallarta (Mexico)

      Thanks Bob for your gracious words, which I value.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 4 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
      Author

      Clark Cook 4 years ago from Rural BC (Canada) & N of Puerto Vallarta (Mexico)

      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.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

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

    • lilyfly profile image

      Lillian K. Staats 4 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

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 4 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.

    • cynthtggt profile image

      cynthtggt 4 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.