Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sleeping On a Train (sonnet)

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Sleeping On a Train (sonnet)


Try though I might, I can't sleep on a train.
Not enamored with the sounds of those wheels,
No magic in coarse, rhythm-racket refrain,
Ghostly frightening, to senses' appeals.

Claustrophobic, stretched out in this slim berth;
Hands in corpse-fold; attempts vain, at slumber,
Humming dead-train songs, for all they are worth,
Such as, "Wreck of the Old... (pick a number.)"

That cow catcher can't divert a whole herd.
Loose coin to flatten, and we jump the track!
We'll meet our reward without warning-word;
Can't bear a thought of tunnel's fade to black.

Give me winding roads, grant me wings to fly;
Anything but rails, where I'm sure to die.

Michael Todd (2015)

68 comments:

  1. Frist?? Your sonnet is on track! No mystical route, give me the open road, too... -David II

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    1. There is not way you could get me on a train these days, Dave. Well, maybe if it was going through Banff, but I would still be over come with apprehension.

      Oh, and... Nice FRISTING !!!

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    2. Nice One Myke - tho I have the opposite experience of being on trains - been countless hours on all types and the toughest part has always been getting on and getting off. The ride and the berth being the easy thing. The bullets are a breeze - like going first class air, only smooth as silk

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    3. Ben, I would love to experience a train trip as you have described. I will say, the times I have traveled by air have been enjoyable.

      Thanks for visiting, Sir.

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    4. I've always considered "trains" as the vehicle we drive or are driven by - of course being synonymous with the body/mind units that propel these observations ;)
      all travel *on* or *thru* time is the bigger question..

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  2. Oh, I much prefer driving myself on winding roads, there's nothing quite like a road trip. I've never actually been on a train before, but I've never been able to sleep on a plane (not even when we flew to the U.K., tried though I did). Love this poem <3

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    1. Gee, Dahlia... I have never tried to sleep on a plane, but I bet that would be difficult to do, as well.

      Lovely to see you, as always. Thanks!

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  3. Never heard of train phobia, but you’ve captured the idea here. Good imagery in a tightly metered poem.

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    1. Debra, until this thought entered my mind, I would have declared I have never suffered from a phobia... well, spiders.

      Thanks so much for visiting. I greatly appreciate you coming.

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  4. Michael! I think my first comment to you disappeared into the electronic mistland
    and my grandson admonished me "don't say that"!
    Ok, I'll say this... I loved the poem, I could see the traveler, brow creased, unsettled, hands folded and quickly unfolded before those thoughts derailed him. (or a penny)

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    1. Deanna, it is as if you were right there with me.

      Thanks so much for your wonderful overview.

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  5. Dear Michael,

    I really enjoyed this. The touch of humor is just right. Keep up the good writing!

    Best wishes,
    Karen

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    1. Thanks, Karen... It was fun, getting to be a little silly this time around. February is a happy month, you know.

      I appreciate you coming to visit.

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  6. Loved this poem, even though I adore train trips. Your poems are always interesting, full of good images and plays on words. I especially liked the bit about the tunnel. The ending is also well done. -DN

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    1. Thank you most kindly, Miss Donna. Perhaps I should just limit my rail travel to daylight hours, like Stephen.

      Glad you like the poem, especially the closure part. I wrote that last.

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    1. Thank you immensely, Miss Maureen, for coming such a long way to visit.

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  8. You just pictured in a way that made me want to jump out of the train and I am sitting here at home. I like trains and they always make me think of you because you once told me how much you liked railroads and then trains make me think of Stephen. Trains are good to me and I loved this sonnet.

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    1. Hello, Leigh... I once wrote a poem about a boy and his grandfather, taking a trip across Canada, by rail. That poem became ingrained in me, my psyche, to the point, it was once one of the pieces I would be identified by. I knew so little about trains, but I had a great teacher, back in those days. The teacher is gone, but the fascination with the rails is still there.

      Stephen, that fine young fellow we seem to keep mentioning... well, he rides a train, to and fro, with his job. He has written several sonnets, while spanning the rails, and they are good sonnets. He has crazy skills, a veritable genius.

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    1. It is good when you are smiling, Wynne. I like that.

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  10. This sonnet speaks to me....my father worked on the railroad and I used to go to the train yards with him & putter around the dirty yards (imagine that)! And I've definitely ridden my share of trains. I used to do the whole train commute into DC thing back in the 80's.... plug in my walkman and the rhythm of the ride would put me to sleep! This rocks -- I absolutely LOVE this one! <3

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    1. Colleen... your reaction, and recounts, make me happy. This poem came to me in a rush, a few nights ago, and was written within minutes. I had good intentions to finish another poem, but I went stone cold blank on that one. Reading your enthusiastic review is like a tonic for me. Thank you.

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  11. I love trains and to drive windy roads fast. But this isn't about me and you paint a vivid picture. Here's to happy road trips by auto! Big hugs

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    1. I will bet a train ride in the Northwest is far superior to any runs I may have made along the Mississippi Delta and Hub City, Stephy... We do have some great roads to ride here, deep in the heart of a state park, but you can't drive fast. There are no straight away roads, only angles and curves.

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    2. You would be surprised how fast you can go on a windy road with the right car and good tires. It's smooth. I like these kind of drives. Lol

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    3. I like drives like that, too, when I am in the back seat and can hold on for dear life, when the situation warrants. :)

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  12. I can't sleep on a train either.

    Think of all the sights I'd miss :)

    Nice one, Myke!

    -slj

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    1. Well, Stephen Lee Jackson, as I live and breathe... Really glad you made it over, my sonnet brother. As for you missing the sights, we both know, you are all seeing and ever searching... Good luck with that studio project.

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  13. :) Love it! I've been on a train, but it was a short distance where we were heading so I have no idea if I could sleep in one. hehe

    Irene

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    1. Irene... Short trips are not so bad. We used to take a sky ride on over head cable cars to get to a remote area that had a train ride, just for sport. One day, the sky ride broke, and people were left stranded, hundreds of feet in the air... They were all rescued, but the allure was gone from the program. It closed and the train moved away...

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  14. This is a haunting piece of wondrous poetry! The rhythm of the rails seem to wale at the sensibilities of the entrapped being. I have never ridden on a train and this write gives me an ill sense of foreboding! Well done

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    1. Nissmech... Just between you and me, this poem has nothing to do with riding on trains, but rather, is entirely about an ill sense of foreboding. Now I am left wondering... does it show?

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  15. I perfer driving. I had the worse experience on a train. Crying children, people turning on and off the lights at 1am. Love the share though! Thx Mike!

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    1. Thank you, Ellie... My experiences are fabricated, while yours are real, and quite chilling. Nice to see you, as always.

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  16. I love your sonnets ... this one had so many wonderful elements.. We took a train for eighteen hours once.. It was a long run lol Enjoyed this thank you

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    1. Gosh, Katherine... 18 hours on a train is an eternity. You are lucky your train did not run off into the ocean!

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  17. I cannot sleep on trains either Myke...once from Heidleberg to Amsterdam we had some strange things happening on our train at night. It was too scary to sleep. lol Love the poem :)

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    1. Christine, it sounds as if you have a great story to tell... Thanks for coming over.

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  18. Sigmund Freud might have a few choice observations on your train phobia, my friend. :-) Looking at the piece artistically, I think you've created a really cool sonnet on an usual subject. By the way, I have similar feelings about the commuter railway. However, I think it's more about fear of work than it is about rails and tunnels. :-)

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    1. A commuter railway sounds fantastic, except for the schedule never changing to accommodate me. And, then, there was that fellow in Boston, years ago, who got on the M.T.A. and never returned. His fate is still unlearned.

      Thanks, Eliza Anne. So good to see you.

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  19. Mike, you connect your ideas here as if with a golden spike.

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    1. Seb... that is the best visual ever... Fortunately, this one came with pre-drilled holes, so it only required a light tapping.

      Thanks for stopping by the station, Sir.

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  20. 'Give me winding roads, grant me wings to fly;' wonderful Myke!! your poem conjures up so many memories, though i must admit i love trains... it's about the journey, the stops on the way, the people waiting for you on the other side! still, sleeping on a train is not easy, something i haven't attempted in a very a long time... x

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    1. Caroline... from the sound of this, I am imagining, you have taken trains back and forth across Europe. Now, that would be an amazing ride. Just think of all the short poems we could write on just such a trip...

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  21. I have never been on a long train ride, only tourist trains , did not find them frightening maybe I was too dumb to think of consequences , but I do love road trips , taking time to enjoy scenery and relax.. love the finishing lines

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    1. Trains for fun on a short ride has to be a good thing, Linda. Depending on them for long, cross country trips, probably not so good...

      Glad you like the closure. Thanks!

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  22. You've conveyed your anxiety about trains very eloquently, Michael. The poem conjures up a real sense of dread. Well done! ☺
    When my parents and I lived in Germany, we travelled to so many places by train and loved it! ☺ I never worry about what might go wrong, but it must be nerve-wracking for those who do. Sleep eludes me on trains and planes though (and I love flying), but, oddly, not in cars, (as a passenger, of course).

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    1. Debbie... I bet you had some great times, riding the rails in Europe. And, while I never get drowsy while driving a vehicle, when I am a passenger, I tend to nod off.

      Thanks for the visit. Congratulations on Bob Seger. :)

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  23. Oh but there is no need to sleep, Sir Myke, when you slide through German valleys along the Rhine, when you choo choo so closely alog the mediterranean sea coast that you can almost touch the blue salty waves, when you curl up and down through the Swiss alps between churches, waterfalls and Milka cows, when.... *daydreams without sleeping*

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    1. Knowing full well, you have been to all the places, Sir Ruggi, makes what you say have greater meaning, and the way to stated, has me grinning like a chicken eating briers. :)

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    2. Thanks for the memories, "Anonymous". ☺ Back in the 1960's my family and I had great adventures, travelling through Europe by train.

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  24. I travel on trains all the time, and believe me Myke
    I can relate to this! LOL

    Great sonnet. xxxx

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    1. I did not know that about you, Teresa. You know I want to see a picture of you, standing outside the train station.

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  25. Don't know what happened to my original post on here. Anyway I love trains. Even freight trains. I hear them every day. <3

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    1. I grew up listening to them, Canela. Definitely a sweet childhood memory.

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  26. Ps: I think I've told you before that my fave train song is Love On A Real Train. A very close second is Wichita Lineman. LURVE! !!

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    1. Wichita Lineman is a favorite of mine. I shared a moment with a close friend, once, where that song was key, and it came back later, to be very important to the both of us... You really have me smiling right now, because of that.

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  27. I love the rhythm of the rails. Most of my mother's family were railroadmen and can hear the shouts of switchmen in my dreams. White coated waiters and porters taking my bag to put in storage under the car. It's been a few years since I've done it, but I think a run to New Orleans in order.

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    1. Christopher, in the event you make that trip, we will need pictures. That would be awesome... Thanks for taking me back in time with you, Sir.

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  28. I always thought it would be cool to travel across the country on a train and get to stay in those little train rooms. It's one of my bucket list items.

    http://www.joycelansky.blogspot.com/

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    1. Joyce... Bucket lists are fascinating. I hope you manage to fulfill all your wishes.

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  29. Myke! Good Heavens! i hope you aren't as wary of car, bus, or airplane or you won't ever get anywhere! Good, write, though! :)

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    1. Just between us, I really do have a problem with flying. I can do it, but I would rather not, all things considered. I was kind of okay until that one time I looked down and realized I was flying over the Atlantic Ocean. I tell you, that water went on forever and a day.

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  30. This makes me smile! I love trains, and every time I hear that whistle, I want to run along side, and jump on! Adventure awaits! I cannot even tell you how strong that pull is. My mother has the same kind of moth-flame attraction flying, having been flying a plane since my grandfather taught her how at age seven. When she talks about it, I have the same reaction as you have above, with the train. I wonder what it is inside of us that makes things like that call to us, or evoke that fall in us when we are subject to them? Love this poem.

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    1. I wonder, do the trains run from the South to the Northeast?

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