The Night Train

Discussion in 'Blogs' started by RightHand, Sep 21, 2011.

  1. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I try to paint pictures with words, pictures that encourage the reader to become the camera lens or the observer or even a participant.

    Many years ago, I had neighbors who had both been born and raised in Latvia during WWII. The husband's mother had died in the early years of the war and his father was away fighting in the Russian Army so the young boy was left to live with his grandparents in the Latvian countryside.

    One night in May after watching the Kentucky Derby on TV, we all sat out on our patio drinking Mint Juleps, and talking, as old friends do, recounting stories that grew more personal as the liquor flowed. The man, who is the boy in my story, recounted the time of living with his grandparents. I was haunted by the images he created and, later that night, wrote this story that reflected my understanding of what he felt. These are my words but it was his life and all these years later, I can still remember exactly the look on his face as he recalled that time in his personal history.

    The Night Train

    He overlaps the waffled cot
    That makes his summer bed,
    His night star shining faintly
    On the blond hair on his head.

    He listens for the cadence,
    The sound of marching men,
    Afraid that if he sleeps he'll miss
    Them passing ten by ten.

    Without a dream, he lays there,
    Dark a chamber in the night,
    Wishing he were home again
    With welcomed sounds and sights.

    And then into the quiet comes
    The mournful climbing sound
    Of the train that travels nightly
    Toward an ever distant town.

    In his youthful mind he conjures
    At just a moment's will
    The images of people
    On a journey up that hill.

    A man who's firmly holding
    In the curve of his strong arm,
    A child who's sleeping soundly,
    Protected, safe and warm.

    And then there is the mother
    Whose hand is gently pressed
    Upon the nursing baby
    Held so closely to her breast.

    A soldier in a uniform
    Is talking to a girl
    Who smiles into his laughing eyes,
    No thought of warring worlds.

    The conductor passes down the aisle
    Without a nod or wave;
    He's there to do his duty and
    To see that all have paid.

    The little boy's mind wanders
    To the engine up ahead
    Where they stoke the burning fires
    Feeding coal to steel and lead

    His mind can see the swells of steam,
    The stack atop the car.
    He watches as it rounds the bend
    And travels fast afar.

    The solitary whistle blows
    It's song into the night,
    The only sound across the fields
    To stir an owl to flight.

    Toward sleep, he hears his father's words,
    Kept safe within his heart,
    The promise that he's loved although
    The war keeps them apart.

    His eyes begin to sink into
    The hollows of his cheeks;
    He dreams himself a pleasant place
    Where boys play hide and seek.

    His train soon will be passing
    Through another little town
    And another boy will listen
    To the story of it's sound

    May 1973
  2. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    lovely picture dude
  3. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

  4. Sapper John

    Sapper John Analog Monkey in a Digital World

  5. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    That's a nice poem. It has a connection with my own history. Thank you for sharing.
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