Freight Train (Poems)

Rollin’ on
silver track slipstreams

iron hide snake
union pacific markings

Rail track clatter under moon lit skies
beat poets pen jerks across the page
in a box car jungle

Freight train
touched by moon beams

into a cloud of moths

Screamin’ freight train
flickers red, blue, yellow
swaying leaves

Dormant in the morning tide
the union pacific dragon

iron hide locomotive wrapped in
angular skin, still, silent.

Head light flickers, flares
blazing flame withers the fabric of darkness

before the engine bellows, the
beast twitching, lurching, rollin’ out

silver track slipstreams billow in
its wake as the union pacific dragon

screams along steel tracks
gliding through pine cone valleys

skimming over bleached deserts
under moon beam storms

and unrepentant sun beams
before climbing into mountain peak mists

infinite iron tail disappearing
into boundless clouds

Head light tearing
into the night

box car vagabond

Freight train rattle
the rail road rhythms
chronicled by the box car poets

Dormant, desolate
rusting hulk

the rail yard
its final resting place

Freight train rollin’ down the tracks
more than likely
its gone
its gone
and its never coming back


Ever since reading Jack Kerouac books I have always associated Freight Trains with Beat Poets and have in some way mythologized them, which I have tried to express with the central poem. The last poem inspired by the Grateful Dead song He’s Gone:

Picture Roll Call (First to last)

First Picture found here:

Union Pacific pictures found here:

Final Picture found here:


About skyraftwanderer

A person who enjoys writing short story things, poetry and other random things that come into my head.
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29 Responses to Freight Train (Poems)

  1. REALLY like this and I do love the word ‘slipstreams’ 🙂

  2. zumpoems says:

    Wish my uncle was still alive (who loved trains) then I could forward this as this is a great tribute to the spirit of the American freight train. So many great lines — particularly loved “explodes
    into a cloud of moths”

  3. Betty says:

    Wow, I can hear the trains – perfect subject for “beat” poetry, with that rhythm. Very well-crafted!

  4. redjim99 says:

    I read “On The Road” a while back, fascinating life. I don’t know much about the beat poets themselves, not really my style.

    I like this except for the random placement of the verses. Thats all.


    • Thank you for the comment.

      Oh, there all seperate poems. Sorry for not making that clear. I really have do a better job with that. The central one (Union Pacific Dragon) is one poem, the rest are seperate poems. Again sorry for the confusion.

      On the Road is a fascinating read. I really should read it again.

  5. Lindy Lee says:

    All hail poetic license! Interesting, excellent prosody; Trains’ rhythms are hypnotizing…

  6. rawclyde009 says:

    It’s always a good thing to write about trains. After reading your poems, whenever I have writer’s block, I think I’ll have a train roll by…

    • Thank you for the comment.

      Your comment about writer’s block is intriguing. These poems were conceived in April but were only written in October. A challenging write, but also a worthy one.

  7. Love love love everything about this post – the words and the pics…wonderful!

  8. brian miller says:

    i dont want it to be gone and never come back…though that makes for a very lyrical close…i grew up by the tracks and often the trains would sing me to sleep so i loved the sound of your words and the imagery of the trains….

  9. “iron hide locomotive wrapped in
    angular skin, still, silent” love this line.

  10. poemblaze says:

    I’ve always loved trains and you carry their rhythm.

  11. chris says:

    Great rhythm and feel here. Like I’m riding a train and reading. I like your association with the beat poets. Don’t think trains are on their way out just yet; dozens of them roll by every day, not too far from where I am. Lovely poem set.

  12. claudia says:

    Freight train
    touched by moon beams

    into a cloud of moths…, love, love this..

  13. kelly says:

    I run on a trail that used to be a railroad… the train may be gone, but its spirit is still there, I feel it. This had a wonderful train-like rhythm.

  14. zongrik says:

    i like how it is hit by moonbeams, and disappears into the clouds

    radiation rampage

  15. cloudfactor5 says:

    I wish I was a headlight on a northbound train
    I’d shine my light through cool Colorado rain.
    Fantabulous !! your binging back serious memories here!!! Great Write !!!

  16. Alex Dissing says:

    Love the way you have presented this. “the union pacific dragon…” that image reasonated well with me. Nice to meet you and your talent.

  17. C Rose says:

    Wonderful imagery exposed in this piece, it took me on the journey. ~ Rose

  18. This blew me away–raucous like the Beats, mystifying like locomotives–powerful, powerful stuff.

  19. Beth Winter says:

    I was fortunate enough to view my world from the engineer’s seat of a locomotive once. I sat and watched the world from a unique perch and ever since thought that life seductive. Wonderful work. 😉

  20. 1emeraldcity says:

    Nothing piques the imagination more than the train…going from past, to present and future. And nothing built America as much as the freight train. I love the rhythm and structure you crafted here. Bravo!

  21. poemsofhateandhope says:

    great poem! to describe a freight train as an Iron Hide Snake- inspired! love how you used localised language to infer the working class nature of the train…and the form- how the words travelled across the page- very clever- simple subject beautifully and poetically explored

  22. Chazinator says:

    Sorry for late comment, sky. I’m glad to see you taking on American material! I read the poems as different parts of a single poem, for whatever that’s worth Reading your poem brought back memories of my childhood fascination with hoboes and wandering. Strange, since I hadn’t thought about it for years. Acoounts for my wanderlust, perhaps. Excellent work, as always.

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