The Junction, on a Warm Afternoon
by Howard Nemerov
Out of the small domestic jungle,
The roadside scribble of wire and stick
Left over from the last fall as wel come
Into spring again, a slow freight
Incongruously rises into view.
The tall boxcars, rounding the bend,
Rattle their chains, and from the high
Cab of the engine, from the caboose.
The old men in caps and spectacles,
Gentle old men, some smoking pipes,
Nod with a distant courtesy,
Kindly, and yet remote, their minds
On other things.
Sunlight is warm
And grateful. The old railroad men
Are growing obsolete with the great
Engines whose demands they meet,
And yet they do not fail in their
Courtly consideration of the stranger
Standing in sunlight while the freight
Passes slowly along the line
To disappear among small trees,
Leaving empty the long, shining rails
That curve, divide, vanish, and remain.