Inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Celestial Railroad.”
The Train Trip to Tomorrowland
Arriving at Uncertain Station as predawn clouds obscure the moon
Looking over shoulder, watching. Checking schedule—leaving soon.
Pay the tatters of my soul for a ticket to escape;
From the endless woes of living, from the pain of bruise and rape.
My baggage heavy on my mind and shreds of memory weighing down-
The dismal rain is cold and chilling as I wait to leave Down town.
The call to board the Freedom Line announced by man with swinging light,
And, slowly, haunted faces board the train, disappearing out of sight.
I find a seat, sit in the corner, back against the red damask,
Keeping baggage close at hand, I fix in place my brave new mask.
With a screech of steam escaping, that rattles teeth still clenched in fear
I feel the train begin my journey to someplace far away from here.
The rumbling sound becomes a cadence, heart beats matching click for clack
Watching shrouded trees retreating, looking forward, never back.
Faint glimmer on the far horizon, new day dawns beyond the trees
I see distant horses running, tails whipped by the passing breeze.
One leaps a fence with clear abandon, others follow in her lead
Then stop beside sun-dappled brook to drink and fill a thirst believed.
A porters asks me for my ticket, punches it with firm disdain,
Offers to put up the baggage, seats will be needed on this train.
I see my bulging suitcase lifted, put above me, out of sight.
See my reflection in the window, luminous eyes in face so white.
“Are you okay, miss?” asks the porter, “Can I get you anything?”
I mutely shake my head in answer, what I need, he cannot bring.
We pass the Station of Defiance, Regret and Guilt come close behind.
We stop in Hope, but no one enters, then on to Strength and Peace of Mind.
My destination’s growing closer, I can almost smell the sea
And near its vast, renewing waters, my tomorrow is awaiting me.
The train is slowing as we pass over the bridge from Shattered Soul.
The shimmering structure, strong and good, a gateway to the Land of Whole.
The porter pauses on his trek, says , “Miss, We are almost there!”
“I’m glad to see you looking better. You’ll be okay now, please, take care.
The train pulls into Freedom Station, flowers bloom in Freedom’s Run
Most of my bags have disappeared, I step lightly into the sun.
Head held high, with healed heart soaring I know now I have survived,
Look out Freedom, I’ve come home now, Look out World, I have Arrived!