Train Ride

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

She feeds him sweets;
he, her, in the seat
ahead of us.

Yesterday, we were young,
but today,
as we climbed
in the Adirondacks,
we felt our age–
hand over hand,
root over root,
tripping over history
and boulders.

I waited for you,
you, for me,
our legs straining
like stressed trees,
trees that send out
a chemical substance
like aspirin
to buffer
their dying–

a train we too
will have to catch.

All four of us stopped
to photograph
droplets of water
on the red maple leaves
suspended like placid lakes
in the rain-soaked day.

But now,
the conductor calls out,
“Express train to
Grand Central Station–
The Big Apple.”


Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry

16 responses to “Train Ride

  1. SKW

    Wonderful! Perfect for this gray Monday – I want this one to stay with me

  2. Brings back memories of my hiking days in the White Mountains of NH. 🙂

  3. This is quite some train ride, isn’t it? The Big Apple is not the terminus here, that’s clear – and you pause over the beauty of those maple leaves and their droplet of water. The poem pauses; the day pauses; life waits for a moment – but not for long.
    I love the rhythm of “she feeds him sweets;/ he, her” and then again “I waited for you,/ you for me”.

  4. Penny

    Another wonderful poem Ethel.

  5. Wonderful hike and most welcome train ride afterwards. So well this poem blends the mountain trails with the knowledge that one must return to those places where a lot of other people live! You had me shifting my backpack and huffing and puffing with this one, drinking in all the joys of the scenes!

  6. Anna Mark

    I love the juxtaposition of the train we all have to catch with the suspended water droplet on the read maple…that stop in the midst of life to catch such a moment, a moment in the midst of this rather fast, sometimes slow moving train of life.

  7. A poem which reminds us once again not to forget to ‘stop and smell the roses on the way.’

    My day had been gathering pace.
    You have just slowed it down for me.
    Thank you for that


  8. I really enjoyed the feeling of connectivity here in the poem, from “he” and “we” to “all four of us”. Thank-you for sharing this.

  9. Ethel, this was a wonderful ride – metaphorically and literally. It’s a love poem, and one I can relate to as we ALL grow older. I found these lines fascinating:

    trees that send out
    a chemical substance
    like aspirin
    to buffer
    their dying–

    And I too love that pause – to photograph the droplets of water in the red maple leaves. Lots of meaning in this multi-layered poem!

  10. A wonderful, beautiful poem that really tells a story. Absolutely breath-taking 🙂

  11. Angela Jane Grace

    Beautiful piece, Ethel. Reading it was like looking at the drops of rain on a train-ride window… mesmerising. 🙂

  12. I enjoyed the journeying in this, that you took–are taking–together with such love and endurance.

  13. I want to echo Betty’s comments.

  14. Such a beautiful poem!

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