Chemin De Fer Poem by Elizabeth Bishop

Chemin De Fer

Rating: 3.4

Alone on the railroad track
I walked with pounding heart.
The ties were too close together
or maybe too far apart.

The scenery was impoverished:
scrub-pine and oak; beyond
its mingled gray-green foliage
I saw the little pond

where the dirty old hermit lives,
lie like an old tear
holding onto its injuries
lucidly year after year.

The hermit shot off his shot-gun
and the tree by his cabin shook.
Over the pond went a ripple
The pet hen went chook-chook.

"Love should be put into action!"
screamed the old hermit.
Across the pond an echo
tried and tried to confirm it.


I think this poem is gorgeous. It's marked as one of my favorite. And I'm just a bit in awe/love with the author.

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Georgios Venetopoulos 31 August 2012

A smart, elegant poem with bold expression. I expect a friend to read it, too.

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* Sunprincess * 09 March 2014

The hermit shot off his shot-gun and the tree by his cabin shook. Over the pond went a ripple The pet hen went chook-chook

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Robert Murray Smith 19 April 2018

This poem is moderately good but not suitable for this category.

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Bernard F. Asuncion 19 April 2018

Such a wonderful poem by Elizabeth Bishop👍👍👍

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Subhas Chandra Chakra 19 April 2018

A great poem in the section, so well chosen. I feel happy to have read it. Loved every imagery, especially the old tear holding onto the injuries. Sounds great. 10+++++++.

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Susan Williams 19 April 2018

an intriguing poet- -wow- have to read this again- want to read this again- -its immediacy is so vibrant and the last two lines resonate especially

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Marieta Maglas 19 April 2018

People's suffering is described using elements of nature. The poem is a prayer for true saving love. The suffering of the hermit is in contrast to that of the world that is hopeless.

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Edward Kofi Louis 19 April 2018

Yes! ! ! Love should be put into action! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.

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Glen Kappy 19 April 2018

The scene painted along the railroad tracks is familiar, well-rendered. My mind goes to how this mode of transportation, once so important, that once made a few quite rich—in part from government handouts—has sunk from prominence. A weird connection perhaps, but Shelley’s Ozymandias—for comparison—comes to mind. -GK

2 0 Reply
Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop

Worcester, Massachusetts
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