Free Verse: The Howling Train


A free verse poetry, “The Howling Train.”

It’s in the small experiences, big ones too, that I realize just how precious life really is. In my life time, I have been to places that have made me feel so tiny, like a grain of sand. It has taught me, that I am a part of a bigger picture.

Image of free verse poetry,

A place of being, a fleck of humanity, a part of a community. It takes each of us to give to humanity. A free verse poetry and a digital art piece in appreciation of life.

The Howling Train

An old railroad crossing
In the middle of God’s country.
Planks wide enough I could see my soul,
Through and through.
It was kind of unnerving.
The depth just went on and on.
I threw a pebble into the gap.
Down, down, down it went.
No echoing sound came back.
My soul wasn’t like that.
I, like the plank, would age over time,
Time stamped with determination.
Standing there with just
a plank underneath my feet.
I felt invincible.
Vulnerable. A soul crossing.
I placed my hand upon cold railroad track.
Something was imminent.
A train, coming from a far-off distance.
Vibrations echoed of the chugging.
Then a choo, choo from its horn.
Again Choo. Choo.
I must move quickly across.
Now I felt vulnerable.
What if I trip, stumble?
I have nowhere to go
but down like the pebble.
I crept, swiftly across watching the placement
Of my feet. I was shaking.
My heart is pounding; I could hear the train’s
increasing sound as it drew near.
I jumped off to the side of track
Onto the tall grass, I stumbled, tripping over my feet.
My shoe caught in the long grass.
I rolled over onto my butt
and watched the train approach.
100, 75, 50 ft. closer.
Screaming horn. The air was hostile.
Diesel rang a strong smell, burning nostrils.
Somehow, I felt tiny.
The train howled past
Every part of me was shaking.
Then, away, away. Quieter dissipating was gone.
I laid on my back staring at the blue sky, appreciating the smallness of me, realizing that was a close call.

©Linda J. Wolff 2017
|The Howling Train|
A free verse poetry

What is a Free Verse Poetry? Typically patterned by speech rather than meter, this form of poetry is very open to the author’s discretion and usually does not rhyme. Visual and sound effects are often employed.  It can have as many lines as the writer wishes.

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Read more Inspiring Poetry:

  1. Free Verse – Bullying, When You See Her
  2. I Am a Twilight Girl
  3. Daily Haiku: Gray Abandonment

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the howling train, free verse poetry, poetry, enlightenment, life, daily prompt, inspiration, train-crossing, train, nature, appreciation of life, railroad crossing,

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A poetic wordsmith by the mind and a passionate blogger by heart. Reservoir for Wolff Poetry & Urban Poetry 2017, mentor for youth writing groups. Life motto: Everything you seek is in the stillness of one's mind. The place between seconds, whispering of a song between sound.

23 thoughts on “Free Verse: The Howling Train

  1. I liked The Howling Train. Took me back to a time I was involved in a film about trains and something very similar happened to me. You put more meaning in to it than I could in prose.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I love how real this poem felt! It reminded me of a time when my dad took me to look at an old train and as people were gathering to watch it come in, everyone was placing coins on the rim of the track to see them flattened. I remember thinking how powerful the train must be to crush the metal with no effort, without a sound.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you for the wonderful post. I grew up next to the railroad tracks. They quickly became my friend. The clatter of the freights. The speeding passenger trains. All gave dreams to a young boy that the world was bigger than the street where I lived. They gave me a wanderlust for which I am grateful. Ray

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I absolutely loved the poem. Well written. I was there on the train track with you feeling the urgency to get off the tracks and felt the enormity of the train and its sounds, especially how small you felt compared to the collosal train. Loved the picture as well. Trains always remind me of my most favorite person in the world and that is my grandpa as he loved trains. Maybe that is also why I loved this poem so much… You are very talented.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh, no Linda!!! Stay away from the tracks!! Hahaha! Love diesel trains! They always remind me of a more simpler and wondrous time. A time when things were being discovered with such innocence and embraced ignorance. Because of your words, I was there with you, fearing for my life! Great job, Linda.

    Liked by 1 person

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