Thursday, February 4, 2016

Freight Train (Charles Burchfield), Sonnet #283

Our frozen January bends the rails the trains
Straighten as they go at one, three and four A.M.
I'm awake as I am each night at this hour
Anticipating the hot whistle blast refrains
At three crossing barriers, each warning the same,
To stop this beast for you is beyond my power . . .
We knew the day of the hobo would soon return,
Just as they once jumped off to camp on an island
Two miles upstream from the old house, to strip and burn
Whole trees each night to warm and cook for a thousand.
I can't imagine (believe in) the engineer,
A life devoted to go, to stop, and to fear.
He must have dozed just now because I cannot hear
A sound but the thump of freight cars rolling nearer.

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