Stay for Awhile




A train, at a standstill across
the river, gasps for breath, hisses
its need to move along toward
destiny. Slow start, a wheeze.
It inches forward, heading East.

But I, I don’t want to go.


I live across the river from the train track that threads through the Sierra Nevada from California to points East. I love its plaintive sound (except when some middle-of-the-night engineer really lays on the whistle). It seems to call us to distant places.

This week, at dVerse Poetics, we’re writing about trains. Why don’t you hop on board?!

35 thoughts on “Stay for Awhile

  1. 5h2o says:

    Yes. I visit a place in Michigan where we can hear the train whistle at night, even in winter with all the windows closed. It is a good sounds for a thousand reasons. Lovely snippet.


  2. wolfsrosebud says:

    this was unexpected… how’s your hubby doing


  3. kaykuala h says:

    The nostalgic feel makes one yearn to go into a train again. More so now everything are all modern and up-to-date especially the fast trains!
    Well penned Victoria!



  4. Mario Lopez says:

    There is a certain nostalgia running through your poem. I quite liked it.

    Greetings from London.


  5. this makes me sad in a way… I feel a longing, a need to go, but not having the means or the strength… This is also makes me think of hearing the trains (I live one mile away from tracks) and wondering where they’re off to…


  6. Sumana Roy says:

    love the personification…and also not responding to the call :)…


  7. This is very evocative for me of my childhood visits to my Gran – the railway was at the bottom of their garden. When I went home, I couldn’t sleep because I missed the train sounds.


  8. thotpurge says:

    Trains always beckon … somehow they represent yearning and longing… even when you don’t want to go!!


  9. Destiny is clear in tracks of train.. in fact..
    pre-destination is the rule
    of LOCO motives
    without a clue..
    aboard the
    imaginary train
    of mind and body
    balance i go..
    no tracks.. rails..
    just all aboard.. to
    go wHerever is now..:)


  10. C.C. says:

    Love your use of personification here. Very effective, especially the wheezing!!


  11. Sabra Bowers says:

    I can hear the train at my house, too. It is a faint sound and one I like.


  12. Mary says:

    I do agree…the whistle of the train does call us to distant places. I don’y think I would mind at all being close to train tracks. I think listening to the trains at night would be like listening to a lullaby.


  13. Myrna says:

    I wouldn’t want to go either.but it’s nice to hear the train, when it’s not too loud.


  14. Forget “Old Man River!” You’ve created “Old Man Train!” 🙂


  15. Grace says:

    I love the calling to the East by the train, and then your response with:
    But I, I don’t want to go.

    We make a choices,smiles ~ Lovely to read you Victoria ~


  16. Sanaa Rizvi says:

    This poem makes me want to board a train again.. its been a while.. thank you for this beautiful piece 😀

    Lots of love,


  17. kanzensakura says:

    I always enjoyed riding trains but as an adult, the experience is much diluted. Taking the commuter train to DC for Sakura Matsuri was just…blah. However, the last time I was in Tokyo, being stuffed into a train but a train stuffer (yes, it is a real job) was just mind blowing. But that sound of the train at night, that sound of it starting – nothing else comes close. I truly do like this short and so descriptive poem. And Donner Pass???? wow.


  18. MarinaSofia says:

    Ah, we’re all romantics at heart, aren’t we, feeling the call of far-off places? I like the way you’ve personified the train – stopping to admire the landscape for a while.


  19. billgncs says:

    Did you get rain there ?

    I fondly recall that whistle of the trains at night.


  20. Glenn Buttkus says:

    Your short piece is so wonderfully vivid; immediate sense of space & place. So much of Nevada is high plateau, unless the trains have multiple locomotives, they would indeed stop & tarry & wheeze across the tracks from your front porch; very nice.


    • They often do stop as they have recently begun their descent from Donner Pass into Reno. We gets lots of warning whistles, too, (long, long, short, long) since we are on the outskirts of town where they are a couple of ungated RR crossings.


  21. claudia says:

    oh yes they do call us to distance places… i would board a train every day – and every day in a different direction…smiles


  22. X says:

    I guess some of those leaving do not wish to leave. I def have the wander lust so riding a train would be a treat. Especially across the country, seeing all of it out a window. Wow. Cool indeed. Ha.


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