Sunday, September 8, 2013


                                                                       PRAIRIE TRAIN

The white train comes from a dark tunnel
of rocky mountains with its covering of snow.
The white train looks as though it has just escaped
from the jaws of darkness.  The white train steams
from the mountains into the flat
prairie, yielding the fresh seeds around it.

The horizon is exalted.  Ancient plains.
Whole sections never to have been farmed.
Over there the strong arms of farmers who
stand in little groups.  You cannot see
warriors or lost faces. Cattlemen at a distance.
On their way to a roundup maybe.

In the dining car, behind the hardwood door...
breakfast cereal and berries, cold juice
and a smile.  Already this morning
the chef has prepared breakfast for twelve
while tracking the prairies;  the formal
waiter never spills a drop only smiles.

A clean white napkin sits on the table
like a small mountain ready to fall.  Suddenly
the train brakes and stops.  The boy and waiter
peer through the window with wonderment
as they see the farmers with silver scythes
ordering them off the train, into the prairie.


turtlememoir said...

oh dear, i was loving this until the 'Suddenly...' but of course, even on the prairies bad things can happen ;) -
love the exalted horizon against the plains

Kathe W. said...

oh my- I did not see that coming.

Sharon Bradshaw said...

There's lovely imagery in this poem, Wayne, and the ending was a surprise.

Helen said...

This is different ~~ and I really enjoyed it.

jabblog said...

You're not safe anywhere these days . . . ;-)

I enjoyed the journey.

Tess Kincaid said...

Wayne, this is a beautiful, beautiful write!

Friko said...

Now I want to know why, when everything went so smoothly up to the last moment . . . .

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

No, I did not see that ending coming.

Jim Swindle said...

You have quite a way with words. This reminds me of my ride across the prairie on a train as a child and later as a teen, at about the same time portrayed in Rockwell's painting. I didn't see any scythes, but remember the dirty windows, the stern conductors, the moss in the water jug, and the good turkey sandwich that cost the unheard-of high price of $4.00 or so.