Trains for Poetry Friday

In honor of the upcoming Carnival of Children's Literature--Take A Ride on the Reading Railroad! (please see the post just before this one to hop on board) I have train poems today for Poetry Friday.

Here's an old favorite:

Travel, by Edna St. Vincent Millay (from Second April, 1921)

The railroad track is miles away,
And the day is loud with voices speaking,
Yet there isn't a train goes by all day
But I hear its whistle shrieking.

All night there isn't a train goes by,
Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming
But I see its cinders red on the sky,
And hear its engine steaming.

My heart is warm with the friends I make,
And better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,
No matter where it's going.

Here's another I like, by Edward Thomas


Yes, I remember Adlestrop--
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop - only the name

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

Aldestrop actually looks like a place I'd like to go.

Here's a new one that tickles me, from a webpage of collected Train Haiku etc

on the train
my usual thoughts
about derailment

- John Stevenson (who I think is this John Stevenson.

And finally, here's a link to one of the more famous train poems, the Night Mail, by WH Auden--
"This is the Night Mail crossing the border,
Bringing the cheque and the postal order"

And now I have that wretched Thomas the Tank Engine song in my head-- "hear the sound of the night train, the clickety clack of the night train..." Speaking of Thomas, there's a list at Amazon called "Beyond Thomas: Train Fiction and Poetry for Young Children." There's some good stuff on it.

There is also lots of good stuff at the Poetry Friday Roundup today, hosted by Sara at Read Write Believe.

ps: One more family favorite train poem, by Scotland's inimitable poet, William McGonagall.

Here's the opening of The Tay Bridge Disaster

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety lives have been taken away
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

The bridge collapsed in 1879, not long after McGonagall had written a poem in its praise. Here's a link to the full text of this truly memorable poem.


  1. Love the theme for this post and the Carnival. On a more personal note, I also love the "quiet car" on the Acela trains. :)

  2. Love the train haiku and the other poems.


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