It is a well-known fact that we are train freaks. We have spent the endless hours at IRFCA, like others of our persuasion. We have taken trips that have left Others flabbergasted and flummoxed at our enthusiasm. And, some time back, we said we will attempt a post on railway poetry. And since the days between the posts are turning into trackless wastes, and we are too lazy to actually write something ourselves, we take the slimy way out, and post other peoples works. So, railway poems.
Turns out that the most unlikely people have written poems about the railroad. Knew about Eliot, Heaney, and Stevenson. But never knew that Nash and Dickinson were in the market. You Google and you learn, eh?
The Winged Ones
- Ogden Nash
Nash's cribs are very valid, especially if you've ever taken a train on the US East Coast in a winter snowstorm, when the planes are grounded. You, of course, being train freak, did plan to take the train all along. These other aerodynamic slimeballs that ooze in from Logan or JFK are a bit much.
The Railway Train
- Emily Dickinson
Dickinson lived in Amherst, MA. We were...ah...neighbours, so to speak. In fact she lived very close to the railway line that runs through Amherst. Maybe she saw the Vermonter thunder by, and was inspired.
From A Railway Carriage
- Robert Louis Stevenson
Quintessential railway pome, a must in a railway pome list.
The Railway Children
- Seamus Heaney
Quite possibly, the best railway poem ever. Even though, strangely enough, there is no mention of trains in the damn thing.
Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat
Utterly delightful, hummable, singable, danceable rhyme. The Broadway version is a totally enjoyable experience.
Piggy on the Railway, picking up stones,
Down came an Engine, and broke Piggy's bones.
"Ah!", said Piggy, "THAT'S NOT FAIR!!",
"Oh," said the Engine Driver, "I don't care!"
' "Ah!" said Piggy '? One suspects Piggy said a lot more than that when Piggy was plastered by a locomotive. This remarkable poem on non-violence and compassion towards our fellow beings is possibly the first railway poem we all learnt. When your education starts off like this, you don't have to seek far to find the reasons for the world being the state it is in!
TAILPIECE: India is a train-crazy country. Are there Indian poems or poems by Indians on trains? Surely, the Seths and the Ezekiels must have tried their hand at this. Wait...remembered a train poem...but will have to wait till the morrow (being Scherezade).