Back in the early spring I wrote some haikus about the freight trains that run through a park near my house. I also wrote a poem on the same subject. And I forgot all about it until I was looking through some files today. So here it is.
One reason I have focused on these trains, I think, besides the fact that I like looking at them, hearing them – I like to think of them heading west. My son lives in Pittsburgh and it makes a little connection between us.
Now I think I have said all I wanted to say about the trains – but maybe not. Maybe just for now, that’s what I mean.
Three-Engine Freight Train
Three-engine freight train
stretched out along the embankment.
Pauses, gears up. When the signal changes
More sound than motion, at first,
but the hard dark rumble
-I feel it in my chest-
is a promise
to the steep curved tracks in the mountains
three hundred miles west of here
from the high-nosed engines
and their string of graffitied boxcars
open cars heaped with flattened pyramids of coal
It is a promise
of a deliberate and inexorable progress
toward this iteration of their meeting and parting
the arrival of the three-engine freight train
in Pittsburgh some time later
as planned and on schedule.
The train moves on
Facing west, as I do
Until its voice fades into the tracks
and I turn away