Poems by John Womack and Melissa Hager after Chip Young

John Womack
The Railroad’s Soul
after “Going West” by Chip Young

The railroad’s soul screamed out at me,
shrieking through its white-hot whistle.
The conductor shouted “ALL Aboard!” and swung
on the train, the last one to leave the station.

The locomotive belched and it roared and snorted
and white steam shot across the ramp.
Like a mighty sledge hammer hitting the ground, it
thumped and clobbered and pounded its way,
dragging it cars and the people on board out of the railroad station.
Later in a different part of the land
its whistle sailed out through the night.  Wild,
Free! Going Somewhere! Making a brand new world!

The first time I heard it was before I was born,
and I’ve heard it every night since.
My daddy was a foreman for the railroad gang
and the trains and the people performed for him.
He made them run on time.  They didn’t like
his iron hand on them, always insisting
they do things right.   That’s why the railroad
shrieked and screamed. And it’s why I still run on time.

ChipYoung_GoingWest
Chip Young, Going West

Melissa Hager
“Going West”
after “Going West” by Chip Young

Two rails, perfectly parallel,
never too close, never
too far apart, lest life
derails. Two directions,
back east to the past, easier
to relive the downhill coast,
but left behind; been there,
done that. Going west,
parallel tracks merge
in the distance, doom foretold.
Storm clouds of aging, the unknown,
wait, mountains to climb.
Propelled forward, we find
rails stay the course, life
goes on, until it doesn’t,
at the end of the line.

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About missmellibrary

A children's librarian who loves to excite youth about reading!
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