The Truth About Trains


Category: Art, Beauty, Nature, Poetry, Suffering

This poem was inspired by a poem written by my dear friend, Jerome Gastaldi, whom you may know as Bob Abbott. The last stanza starts . . .

Some do not want to know.

For the pain of knowing 

Is the death

Of their illusion.

—Jerome Gastaldi

Riding the train.

A pane of glass is all

that separates the sacrosanct

from the profane.


A crude sketch—

golden triangles

atop American-grown rectangles—

slides off the page,

a screaming countryside,

a smeared canvas.


I place my 50-year-old hand

on top of the glass,

trying to catch

the trees without faces.


These faceless creatures—

a Tolkien script stuffed

into a Tim Burton stocking—

run to keep up,

hurdling power lines

on spider’s legs.


I feel like Einstein

riding a beam of light.

Nothing is faster than

my memory of that day,

or, was it night?


Dreams of decapitated shapes

drive in circles,

or, am I awake?


Illusion is remaining

on this locomotive island,

enticed by Calypso,

determined to catch

a glimpse of reality,


when in reality,


truth is borrowing Merton’s passport,

heading home to Ithaca—

a port just beyond the storms.


“For the pain of knowing”

is the reference point

to growing into the reflection

of the canvas within—

a whisper that breaks glass.


The silence—a ceaseless chiseling. There’s a child screaming. I run to the window to look outside only to find the relentless tinkling of rain ricocheting off the top of metal cars.  I come back inside. I hear it again. This time I run out the front door not caring that my favorite shoes are getting…

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Strokes on canvas come to life. Entangled particles of love explore. Still, earth orbits a dying sun: mere reflection and mortal strife. A villa with a view not easily ignored.   “For by grace you have been saved through faith.” Soil of Vine rich with trust. Proverb and parable collide: good deeds like talents buried…

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“All the world’s a stage” where we play different roles and parts, “men and women merely players” (Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II Scene VII, Lines 1-2). The stages of life (infancy, childhood, lover, soldier, judge, old age, and return to childhood “sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything,” line 28) are indeed…

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