– 6/19/19

      Hosted by Kath Abela Wilson

      Eleven hours to Yellow Mountain, a long sequence. One poem laid upon another, inked in the dark. How to untangle them? The singsong rhythm is soothing, and as we arrive, mist covering mountain, lightning and thunder announce our arrival. Later, a moment of clarity, worth the climb.

      unexpected reward
      most delicous in Spring
      young yellow bamboo

      ~ Kath Abela

      Ο Ο Ο

      a train passes by in a reddish hue of sunrise

      Sunrise Saskatoon by Jacquie Pearce

      Jacquie Pearce

      As a child, I’d often fall asleep at night to the distant whistle of a passing train. It was both a comforting and melancholy sound ─ like a blues riff winding through the darkness. Later, it took on the tone of a summons, or a promise, bound up with all my youthful dreams of travel and romance and endless possibilities. I wanted to travel to Europe right after high school, but practical circumstances kept me stuck in place. Finally, the pull to get away and expand my own boundaries was too great. I took a semester off from university, bought a youth rail pass and set off on a journey across Canada.

      night train
      the unrolling landscape
      behind my closed eyes

      Over the years that followed, I became interested in the history and social impact of trains, learned more about my own family’s connection to trains (my maternal grandfather and great grandfathers all worked on trains), and I became fascinated with the unique sense of time, train-board community, and the internal journey experienced on long train trips.

      enough nights
      for a sunset ritual

      walking the scent
      of warm blackberry vines…
      abandoned tracks

      Ο Ο Ο

      A train covered with smoke on a bridge

      Jacobite train (Photo – Jacquie Pearce)

      John Stevenson

      I travel across the US, from Albany, New York to various destinations on the west coast, between once and three times per year. There are always poems that come from the experience, though it’s not always obvious that they are viewed from a moving train. Here are some poems from my most recent trip, to Portland, Oregon.

      to the sleeper
      the train whistles
      far away

      underlining low clouds lake erie

      on the night train
      prairie lights
      and a low crescent

      seven swans a’swimming in the Mississippi

      new in town
      the orientation
      of the river

      Ο Ο Ο

      A decomissioned train wagon in water

      Train (Photo – Kath Abela Wilson)

      Sigrid Saradunn

      So many memories from more than 60 years ago to the present. I come from a “railroad family” …grand-father and uncle worked their ways up to full fledged engineers. Back in 1956 the Braves were in Milwaukee and baseball the rage. Travel was by train from one city to another. My father figured the team would be taking the Hiawatha at a certain time and took my brother and me to the station. Sure enough, like “regular people” there they were sitting on a bench waiting.

      a day etched in memory

      a sighting of favorite heroes sitting together
      waiting to board the Hiawatha to go on to the next city

      we walked up, they greeted us, smiled and shook our hands

      Henry Aaron, Joe Adcock, Eddie Mathews, Warren Spahn, the list goes on

      the train arrived, the conductor’s familiar “All Aboard” heaven sent moment in time

      Ο Ο Ο

      A black and white photio of an old train station

      Greatford Station, New Zealand from Benita Kape

      Benita Kape

      I was born beside the main rail line which runs through the centre of the North Island of New Zealand, at a little place called Greatford. I was the only one of several children to be born there. I therefore make special claim to this place. The rail-line line ran one side of our small four roomed cottage and a dear little church across a small field on the other side of our cramped abode. I lived beside that railway station for the first 17 years of my life.

      through the day, through the night

      the trains chug up the incline
      our little house rattling

      a playground
      a means of transport
      a place of learning

      Ο Ο Ο

      colorful graffiti on a wall by train tracks

      Graffiti by tracks (Photo – Jacquie Pearce)

      Joan E. Stern

      One of my son’s first words was train, and today, at age 42, he is a Federally Certified train engineer, who drives the Fillmore and Western engines on weekends as a hobby.


      steel”—train buff’s theme
      being in the right spot
      to track mighty iron horses’
      rail dreams

      Ο Ο Ο

      reflections of a train on a cabin window

      Through the window from Nyon, Switzerland to Raron, Switzerland, the place of Rilke’s grave. (Photo – Lois P. Jones)

      Lois P. Jones

      For many years I dreamt I could pass through walls into other rooms. Sometimes, I would stay between the walls in a kind of out-of-body experience perceiving the in-between spaces. Trains remind me of this interstices between the physical and non-physical world. It’s as if we are passing through the world in a temporary fashion on our way to our next destination, a kind of spiritual flip-book.

      while speeding along the track
      a glimpse of the lake
      through blurred branches
      time passes quickly
      on our way to the grave


      Overnight Train: Quotes and Credits

      John Stevenson is a poet traveler who makes his home in Nassau, near Albany, New York. An inspiring haiku poet, he spends many hours of many days, readily traveling by train to conferences, meetings and friends, on many lines, writing many wonderful lines himself.

      Jacquie Pearce: “As a haiku poet, I began to notice and collect haiku with train themes, which eventually lead me to compile an anthology of train-related haiku, including submissions from around the world.” Last Train Home, an anthology of haiku, tanka and rengay edited by Jacquie Pearce, will be published in 2020. She lives Vancouver, Canada. Her haiku have won awards and appeared in a variety of publications, including Daily Haiku, Frogpond, The Heron’s Nest, Blithe Spirit and The Red Moon Anthology. Most recently, a selection of her poems was published in A New Resonance 11 (Red Moon Press 2019). Jacquie is also the author of several novels for children.

      Sigrid Saradunn: “How the years have flown from when train was THE mode of transportation. I’d be put in care of the conductor starting around age 12 and take the train from Milwaukee to LaCrosse, WI, and handed over safe and sound to my grand-father. The sound of train wheels on the tracks, “all-aboard” with passengers loading, the familiar 2 AM sound of train’s crossing Birch Ave, waking the neighborhood then back to sleep still listen for that time keeper of the past.” Sigrid grew up in Northern Wisconsin and now lives in Bangor, Maine.

      Benita Kape: “I spent our childhood playing in and around Greatford Station, in New Zealand. They were very special times. Some may have said we were a deprived family in our small house by the station, but for me it was rich in endless countless ways.”

      Joan E. Stern: “My husband and I enjoy traveling all over the world, but our favorite trip is our annual, Thanksgiving train ride from Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo and back in a couchette with dinner on the rails with our son Ryan, a train engineer, who drives the Fillmore and Western engines on weekends as a hobby.” Joan is a poet and artist who joins Poets on Site for meetings in Pasadena from Malibu, CA each week.

      Lois P. Jones is an award-winning poet and radio host of KPFK’s Poets Cafe.


      We welcome and encourage your response, especially in the form of a short poem, by leaving a comment below.

      End of article

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        • Kathabela Wilson

          Kathabela Wilson is a local poet/writer/artist and musician. Her Poets Salon has become an international respected must read in the poetry world. She's the creator and host of the Pasadena-based group, “Poets on Site.”

          Colorado Boulevard is your place for enlightening events, informative news and social living for the greater Pasadena area.
          We strive to inform, educate, and work together to make a better world for all of us, locally and globally.

        • Latest posts by Kathabela Wilson

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      1. Poets Salon: Overnight Train coloradoboulevard.net/poets-salon-ov… via @ColoradoBlvdNet I’m a sucker for train haiku and haibun etc… #train #haiku

      2. night train
        the sound
        of my father’s voice

        Kath Abela Wilson
        issue #62

        Our Overnight tTain salon spatks deep memories and emotions. I remembered this personal haiku this morning while reading your comments! Pam, yes the DNA of trains! And Dianne, the peaceful rythms, and lAex! Of course! …
        Thanks to our inspiring participating international poets! Lois, Joan, Benita, Jacquie Sigrid and John. The experieces from New Zealand. Europe. Canada to USA…all close at heart on the train of memory.

      3. alexnodopaka2 says:

        It’s an unforgettable
        when on our way
        from San Jose to Seattle
        the train suddenly


        at some god forsaken
        with my a** up
        socking it
        to my wife


        as the passengers
        loading outside
        staring through the window
        give us
        a round of applause.

      4. diannemoritz says:

        After having just returned home from a trip via plane, with a four hour delay in Philly, I long for the peaceful notion of train travel….I could go from IA City to Des Moines to visit my Gram during college years, take a day trip to Chicago, LA to Del Mar for the races, and more, all without modern day hassles of driving, parking, etc. Hop aboard and enjoy the views.

      5. Pamela Shea says:

        My father was a train buff and now my small grandson is also. Trains get into the bloodstream and DNA, I believe. Beautiful work by all in this post.

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