It comes from the north
the sound of a distant train
in the almost-glow of a mid-summer night.
The trains here are long,
loaded with timber, logs wearing rough bark,
and slow. Slowly they wind south,
call warnings at level crossings, so that
you hear a train coming for maybe half an hour
before it bears down and passes you
tucked up in bed, your windows screened,
open to night air and music.
And you know that if you walked north
in a straight line through the trees,
over borders, over the Pole,
you would not find a city
until you stumbled into some Asian street
bursting with vermillion and ochre,
with jewels and wolves and electric blue skies.
Celia McCulloch has been writing poetry for many years, and in the last decade has had poems published in northern anthologies and literary magazines such as Anon, Iron, Mslexia, Other Poetry...
Her pamphlet, The Laden Table, was published by Vane Women in October 2006, and she is still putting together a second collection, but says that at last she really can see its shape.
More and more in poetry she goes back to her childhood in Michigan, where she knew her great grandfather, who was born before the American Civil War. As for the skills of poetry writing, she is still learning.
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Night Trains in Maine © 2011 Celia McCulloch: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.
Photograph of Celia McCulloch © Andrew McCulloch 2007.