CN Train

When our boys were young, my wife’s parents took us to the mountains on our visits to Edmonton. We camped in the Canadian Rockies and watched the long freight trains wind their way through Hell’s Gate Canyon. I was always impressed with the way railroads were built along the winding rivers providing connections with Vancouver and Calgary. One that we watched coming through the mountains was the Canadian National or the CN train. A few years ago, I decided to paint a CN train coming though the mountains. I did it in color, but I really liked the effects of the black and white! Which one do you like best?

Freight train winds its way

Through Canadian Rockies

Summer and Winter

Paintings – Dwight L. Roth

Convergence

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This beautiful stone railroad bridge at Mount Union, Pennsylvania has probably lasted a hundred years. Pennsylvania Railroad trains run along the Juniata River carrying coal and freight.  As I look back on this photo, taken on Rt. 521, I was struck by the beauty of the bridge, and then by the convergence of curved intersecting lines.  The guardrails, white and yellow lines,  and the road all pass through the stone arch of the bridge. Poetic beauty in the everyday infrastructure of our life.
Sweeping lines converge
Modes of travel intersect
Summer trains rumble
Wild bushes // green trees surround
hundred-year-old bridge of stone
Daily life goes on
Beauty taken for granted
River flows nearby
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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

 

Poetry in Song

Some of my very favorite poetry is found in the songs people write. Songs tell stories of love and rejection. Some write about objects like trains or jet planes. Simon and Garfunkle wrote about the city of New York in Sound of Silence. On of my favorites is a song by Steve Goodman about a train they called the City of New Orleans.  The mix of  images and metaphors is wonderful, down to earth, and unforgettable. The music is just the icing on the cake!
Poems, and Prayers, and Promises blend with melodies and harmonies transporting us to other places and times with unforgettable lyrics. They share life as it really is as they connect to more than one part of the brain. Some of the greatest poets of our time are singer songwriters. Their songs can take us to locations and situations we have not visited in fifty years. Although many over the years considered country music repetitive and uncouth,  Merle Haggard was considered the Poet of the Common Man.  Perhaps the critics should take a second look… or listen and enjoy this train ride with Steve Goodman on the City of New Orleans. This is Americana and poetry at its best!

Poems and melody

Connecting words with the heart

Spring poetry sings

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Song clip from You Tube

Posted on d’Verse poets open link night…. https://dversepoets.com

Waiting

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It may seem the waiting is is driving us bonkers.  We are asked to stay at home and not gather with our friends or extended family.  But, instead of feeling trapped, find freedom in what’s going on all around. Spring  is bursting forth in all its glory. It doesn’t wait for any virus. Count your blessings, open your eyes, and know this too shall pass.

Sometimes we must wait

For this endless train to pass

Enjoy Spring beauty

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

The Age of Steam

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There is something very fascinating
about steam trains huffing and puffing
when you are seven years old.
I watch it coming up the track…
First, a white light
shining through clouds of smoke;
Then a mighty black dragon of steel
rolls through Martin crossing;
Bell clanging
Whistle blowing
Piercing the evening air.
Rhythmic clacking of wheels
shines steel rails to a mirror finish.
Cars, the color of coal dust,
are piled high with chunks of black gold…
Coke from the ovens that
fuels the blast furnaces in Pittsburgh.
I count the cars …a hundred or more…
and finally, the red caboose passes by
disappearing in the distance.
The Pennsylvania Dragon chugs on;
soon to go the way of the dinosaurs…
Lost somewhere back in time.

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Train Painting: Dwight L. Roth

Tonight is open link at d’Verse. I wrote this as a submission to Old Mountain Press for the upcoming anthology, Old Times Not Forgotten.

Join us at d’verse:  https://dversepoets.com

Going Home

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“March unleashed a torrent of rainfall

after an abnormally dry winter.”

New Orleans was almost under water

April provided a reprieve

Sunny days // high humidity

Going home seemed like a distant dream

But now // it was happening

The train rolled out of Baton Rouge early

By early-afternoon Atlanta was left behind

As the train snaked North to Charlotte

The redbuds and dogwoods

peppered the woodland as they rolled along

Azeleas were in full bloom in every yard

“Since Atlanta she had looked out the dining car window

with a delight almost Physical.”

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

 

We were asked by Amaya, at d’Verse to make up a poem by take a quote from two different books and use the first one as the opening line and the second as the closing line. Our job is to fill in the middle to make it work.

Com join us at d’Verse : hppt://dversepoets.com

 

Quote #1 From the first sentence of The Shack

by Wm. Paul Young

Quote #2 From the first sentence of Go Set A Watchman

by Harper Lee

Small Town Trains

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Waxhaw North Carolina: Small town trains

Seems like almost every small town in North Carolina has a train track running right through the downtown and a water tower with the town name on it.  Trains roll through and shaking windows and rattling doors as they fly by!

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Poetry in motion as the trains come rolling through….No words needed!!

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Photos: Dwight L. Roth

Trains of My Childhood

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My fascination with trains goes all the way back to my childhood. Watching the old steam trains rolling along the river embedded images in my mind that are just as clear now as they were back then. I lived in coal and coke country in the southwest corner of the state of Pennsylvania. The power of those Pufferbilly Dragons always leaves me in awe.

The Pennsylvania Dragon

Steel wheels keep on turning

Keeping rhythm perfect time

Hauling coke from the ovens

Hauling coal from the mines

*

Down along the winding river

Monongahela was its name

Comes the “Pennsylvania Dragon”

Belching smoke & shooting flames

Engines 29’s a coming

See the light and hear the steam

As she passes Martin crossing

You can hear that whistle scream

Train coming up the track

Whistle blowing at the crossing

Black smoke pouring from her stack

On to Pittsburgh she’ll be rolling

Tomorrow she’ll be coming back

*

Counting coal cars as she passes

Waving to the engineer

100 cars hauling heavy

Red caboose at the rear

*

Now the trains of my childhood

Are all silent lost in time

And those “Pufferbilly Dragons”

Are just memories on my mind

*

Down along the winding river

No more smoke or shooting flames

Just the rumble of the diesel

…but it’s just not quite the same

 

A song I wrote in memory of the beautifully powerful steam trains that used to run the tracks between Pittsburgh and Morgantown, WVA.

The Pennsylvania Dragon

I grew up in the generation of Steam Trains. I was in awe of the power those engines produced as we sat and watch them go by. This poem is a tribute to the trains of my childhood that I loved so well.

The Pennsylvania Dragon

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Steel wheels keep on turning

Keeping rhythm perfect time

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Hauling coke from the ovens

Hauling coal from the mines

*

Down along the winding river

Monongahela was its name

Comes the “Pennsylvania Dragon”

Belching smoke & shooting flames

Making the Grade - train

Engines 29’s a coming

See the light and hear the steam

As she passes Martin crossing

 You can hear that whistle scream

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Whistle blowing at the crossing

Black smoke pouring from her stack

On to Pittsburgh she’ll be rolling

Tomorrow she’ll be coming back

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Counting coal cars as she passes

 Waving to the engineer

100 cars hauling heavy

 Red caboose at the rear

*

Now the trains of my childhood

 Are all silent lost in time

And those “Pufferbilly Dragons”

 Are just memories on my mind

 

Down along the winding river

 No more smoke or shooting flames

Just the rumble of the diesel

 …but it’s just not quite the same

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All paintings done by Dwight L. Roth

Paintings enhanced for effect.