15 words or less poems, Poetry Friday

Train song

Photo by w. Jackish

Train Song

Sing train to me
whistle high-low slidenotes
echoing through canyons
calliope your coming

– Violet Nesdoly


There are few sounds that make me feel as nostalgic as the whistle of a train. That’s probably because trains were a part of my childhood. Our farm bordered on a branch line of the old CNR (Canadian National Railway) and a train came past about once a week. Sometimes when we heard that distant whistle, we’d stop what we were doing and rush out to the field beside the track in order to be there when the train came by so we could wave at the conductor. What a thrill when he waved back!

I still love the sound of trains at night. And have you ever heard a train whistle echo through mountains? The sound bends in a magical way! I hope our civilization never gets so advanced that we no longer need trains.

The poem above was inspired by the “Prairie Train” prompt one of Laura Purdie Salas’s 15 words or less prompts. I am submitting it to Poetry Friday, hosted this week by Katya at Write. Sketch. Repeat.

12 thoughts on “Train song”

  1. Love trains, love poetry, love vivid imagery using word economy…this is wonderful. Many years back, I wrote “The Last Train Song,” which you are now forcing me to go try to find and pull out of my archives to read and tweak!


  2. I grew up with trains nearby, and hadn’t realized that I missed them until we recently moved to this place, where there is occasionally a distant train-whistle and the rhythmic click-clack of wheels. It doesn’t wake me, but if I happen to be drifting to sleep or waking when it sounds, it feels comforting. It’s like the old-time night-cryer, letting me know that things are on schedule and “all is well”–the engineer is awake and in charge, the train will arrive at its destination…


  3. What a beautiful picture to complement your lovely composition, Violet! Where I live, there are no trains, only trolleys, and they’re not the same! And back in the Philippines, I’ve always lived in the city, and have only ridden the metro rail. I wish to be able to ride an actual train someday! Thanks for sharing your poem! =)


    1. No trains? Interesting. But I guess that makes sense, because some places wouldn’t have the terrain or the distances, or the history of trains. In Canada, where the distances are vast, trains are a good way to conquer them. I love the photo too. It was posted originally on Laura Salas’s site.


  4. There are train tracks just a block away from us. The bells of the safety gates, the blasting alarm whistles of the trains as they approach the intersection, and the rattling of our windows as the trains pass have become part of the playlist of city noises that make up the background music of our lives. We also live under the flight path for OSU’s Don Scott airport, so — there goes one now — we also hear the sound of a variety of planes landing!

    Now I’m thinking about that “playlist” and that “background music” and I’m thinking I need to jot some poem ideas in my notebook!



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