Passing Through

PASSING THROUGH                                   


Not born there, won’t die there; a flatland railway town

for passing through, but it stores my childhood’s measure -

leaf-smoke scent of autumn, frost, paddock mushrooms, brown

splintered summer landscapes still untouched by mind’s erasure.

There I grew secure, though testing the elastic bonds of home,

questing boundaries, lured by shunting’s shrill complaint to comb

the railway’s web of silver tracks. Thrilling noise, suffocating 

cumulus of scalding steam blasted from an engine’s yawning stack

avenging gobs spat from high vantage, the overpass reverberating.

And nights: elemental fear of prey seized in that hollow shriek-black

swoop when mopokes scarify the dark; dazed horror of things unseen

abated by the rail’s percussion song, the diminuendo siren scream

     What promise! Time and distance, change, dreams, expectation

     and the mystery of trains, their cornucopia of destinations.



© Dael Allison


Published in Famous Reporter Winter 2005 Issue 31