Another Day for Trains

by Lori Joseph

Another Day for Trains

Congratulations Union Pacific

The trains awake me in my slumber
The rumble of their weight on the tracks courses through me
I toss and turn to find my direction
The whistle blows in the cold stillness
Calling me to find my path
I am here but for a moment
Realizing my life’s crossroad
Conductor signals louder and more incessantly
I’ve grown to learn their sounding is as individual as we all are on this earth
Some play their horns as if there is no tomorrow
Others merely toot to remind me of their passing through
Sometimes I lie awake and await their arrival
Anticipating who is out there and why they are calling
There are times when the trains cross paths
East meets West
The energy
The constant motion

I stir
To find my feet and body across the bed
Directions have changed course
There comes a silence and I arise
Walking the dark hallway into the gently illuminated landing of the stairs
Lighting a candle to sit and meditate
Yearning to find my way

The trains are gone for this moment
Feeling relief
I often find them maddening
Do I need to be a better listener?
Derailment is only temporary
Each day the trains reappear
With the promise of try again
Their sturdiness weathers the elements
Some are empty and travel hollow
The heaviness of full cars sound their weight
The cars have attracted some to write their graffiti
The testament of self-expression for the world to see

For when they write the train is motionless
They can’t even feel the rumble under their feet
Only the cold steel beneath their hands
What goes through their mind?
Did they lose their way?
East meets West today
Lifting them in my thoughts
Surrounding them in love and light
I hear the next train coming
Faster stronger than the one before
The candlelight dims as the sunrise overtakes
I sit in awe
Another day before me
Another day for trains
Traveling and passing
Not to be unnoticed

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  • Thank's Lori! My life's "cadence" is set to the sound of a train horn, the sounds of it's wheels rolli'n & the thunder in my soul it creates, & the crossings that make my life complete, as I have always lived beside/near RR tracks!!!I even live in an old Missouri Pacific/UP town:Lee's Summit, MO. & the abandoned Rock Island/Up tracks run right behind my house! Your poetry keeps that "in motion" for me!!!

    - Susan Lary a few years ago
  • Susan, I really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts, your journey. Tell me, do you ever really get used to the trains, or if they're off schedule do you notice a void or silence and wait with anticipation? I'm curious to know if they somehow provide a sense of security/familiarity? All the best to you. Lori

    - Lori Joseph a few years ago
  • Lori, I never seem to tire of hearing or seeing trains! Their horns/whistles stir something in me that makes me come alive, the anticipation of their commings and goings, keeps me breathing! I seem to seek out a sounding horn, to go see the train moving or idling at a signal or making a switch. I'll seek out a crossing or a station/depot, just to watch passengers boarding disembarking the trains, wondering about their stories of travel, wishing that I were lucky one traveling. I like to sit by the depot in Lee's Summit, or across the street from it at "The Whistlestop" coffee shop at one of their sidewalk tables and sketch travelers. I feel their excitment, and their love shown to their loved ones meeting/greeting them welcoming them home! So glad that I live and breath in a historic Railroad town! I live 2 miles from our depot, but the trains rumblings, horns and clickety-clacks keep me lively, always wanting more! When the historic 844 Steamengine, or the 3985 Steamengine come through here or Kansas City's Union Station, I get especially excited, as they have been a longtime part of my families heritage! I've been inspired by them to write music, and am currently developing my songs and a symphony about the Civil War, with of course, inspiration using sounds and rhythms a train would make. So, yes Lori, I'd feel lost without them in my life--and, Lori, I just now heard a horn sound on a train coming through Lenexa, Kansas!!! All is well with my soul! AMEN!

    - Susan Lary a few years ago