She Walks into the Train Station

I am reposting a poem that I’ve written a few months back, as it was hidden in a long text about other books and other thoughts. It’s in response to the prompt on dVerse Poets to write about trains. I thought at once of Anna Karenina, but transposed to our present-day world.

She walks into the station as

if nothing could reach out or jostle

her intent; as

if the icy sheen on her forehead

gives her an armour of aloofness, invisible

to mortals.

Her foresight is complete, her pockets emptied of clues.

No noise to pierce her eardrums, she glides through crowds

erect and poised.

Her spine gains inches as if

the stone-weight of family has left her shoulders.

She drifts up the staircase, and crowds part

at the gauntness of her stare.

First up, then down,

directions cease to matter

if the journey’s end is one.

She’ll catch a moment when

they’re wrapped up in their small partings,

their music and emails,

their lives all about tasks, not noticing.

One breath

and she takes flight.

The screech of that train

branding scarlet letters on herds

trapped in search for romance.

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33 thoughts on “She Walks into the Train Station”

  1. the big and the little getaways while those around us are busy with other things… sometimes it’s the small in-between journeys that i even find more fascinating than the big ones

    1. i can’t believe i didn’t see this… i was totally in a different direction and i must’ve been even more tired than i realized…

      1. I get that many a time when reading a poem – or see something completely different than the poet intended or other readers saw. Thanks for commenting, hope your hand is getting better…

  2. Oh hell. What an ending.
    You give little hints at what is going on for her,
    but if I was going to go – I dont think I would choose jumping in front
    of a train. Can you imagine getting mangled and living through it.
    Geez.

  3. You’ve created such a mystic in this, of Anna Karenina, yes, but it also reminded me of a move I saw when I was maybe 10 years old about a ballerina who jumped in front of a train. Funny (drole) how this prompt evokes so much emotion and so many memories for me.

    1. I think I may have seen something like that too, plus a number of ‘incidents on the line’ when I was commuting. Sorry I went onto the dark side, although trains also bring back very happy, yearning memories for me.

    1. Thought very much of ‘The Scarlet Letter’ by Hawthorne, and how Anna herself is vilified for being an adulteress (while Vronsky – not so much, admired for being a dashing scoundrel, no doubt).

  4. This part gave me the chills:

    directions cease to matter
    if the journey’s end is one.

    So sad when the ending is the choice to be killed that way ~

    1. Having done counselling with suicidal people, that is precisely the problem: that they can see no alternative solution. If you can get them to envisage anything else but an end (which does make them blissful, rather than anxious), you stand a chance of making them live… for a while longer.

  5. One is transported superbly along with Anna parting the crowd, steam hisses & whistles & coupling cars & banging baggage, as the din in the crowd drowns out the solitary scream, misses the lethal dive; excellent retread, perfectly suits the prompt.

    1. Not so sure about the steam… although, yes, in mind there is steam in railway stations… but doesn’t fit with the mobile phones. It’s a modern-day Anna, after all (inspired by reading a book called ‘Hausfrau’).
      Thank you for being on the same wave-length though…

  6. I love the depiction of “the stone weight of family has left her shoulders”—such a tangible description that makes the relief palpable to the reader.

  7. the inner pain that takes us to that place…. I hope she found peace. I enjoyed the subtle way your described her movements to telegraph her intent to us.

  8. “directions cease to matter / if the journey’s end is one.”…tragic and chilling…it would have been so much better for her if the journey was towards life…sigh…

  9. ugh, this so beautifully tragic… I love the layers, the little hints you gave us… but I still want to know more. Like an actual event. When i was 12, I witnessed a lady jump from the 9th floor of the senior highrise behind my house. I wondered why, what was the final straw… I felt that within this. Bravo.

  10. I like the way the train theme seems to bring about a duality in the different poems I have read so far, including yours. As mass transit, train travel can stifle passions as a sort of limbo-state, but also highlight passions which contrast with the more mundane aspects of travel and commuting. I like the modern twist on Anna Karenina 🙂

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