Last Train Home - Poem by Anne Rhitak
I’m walking on the train tracks
And waiting for the train,
I’m standing at a crossing point
And crying in the rain.
I don’t know why I came here,
Although I know the place,
I think I’m trying to recall
A long-forgotten face.
I was just a child, and
He was just my friend,
Innocent and playful kids
Right until the end.
We were running on the train tracks
And we were playing train,
We were standing at a crossing point
And splashing in the rain.
There was thunder all around us,
And lightning flashing bright,
We didn’t here the whistle,
We didn’t see the light.
Not until it was too late,
I’m standing here right now,
He tripped and fell right on this root
Under the old willow bough.
I was dashing down the train tracks
And running from the train,
I was making for the crossing point
And screaming in the rain.
I didn’t realize he was gone
Until I reached the station,
The footsteps that I’d heard behind,
Creations of imagination.
I went back along the tracks,
Shouting his name, calling it out,
Afraid I’d find a broken body,
But as I ran, I began to doubt.
I was stumbling on the train tracks
Far behind the train,
I was far from the crossing point
And searching in the rain.
A note of desperation crept into my voice,
A voice that was slowly going weak.
And as my legs began to give,
I heard his voice, I heard him speak.
I panicked now, where could he be,
I didn’t see him on the tracks,
The rain was stinging, my vision blurred,
I couldn’t hear over deafening cracks.
I was looking round the train tracks
Not caring bout the train,
I was thinking of the crossing point,
So far from this rain.
I heard his voice, oh, it was so weak,
Coming from the bottom of the hill.
I slid down and there he was,
And then I heard the whistle shrill.
I told him to wait, and then I ran
Back up the hill, fast as I could.
Up on the tracks, the train stopped for me,
I asked them to help, they said they would.
I was going down the train tracks,
And riding on the train,
I was coming to the crossing point
Still dripping from the rain.
I’ve never been afraid like I was then,
I sat there and watched him breathe,
Watched his chest as it rose and fell,
Gripped his arm through his woolen sleeve.
That was the last time we played together,
The last time we ran on the tracks,
The single time that we raced the train
With the rain pounding on our backs.
I’m no longer on the train tracks,
But I’m waiting for the train,
I’ve finally reached the crossing point
And stepped out of the rain.
I still remember the party they had,
I still recall that final day.
His teary face now springs to mind,
The face he had as he was torn away.
Now the cobwebs are swept away,
Like dust blown off an ancient tome,
And now I’m finally remembering
As I ride the last train home.
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