Frank Bana

Train Of Dreams - Poem by Frank Bana

In the village called Mochudi, on the Kalahari fringe
Two sisters, Education Child and Miracle, carry their loads
Of elementary books beside the line of rail, climbing in neat grey uniforms
The hill to school. The single track
Awaits the daily train that hauls the sheep and goats
And owners to the north colonial lands
While in the dry warm hovering air
Infused by levitating specks of sand
Freedom is a perceptible dance

In the Pyrenees, carriages hug the snowy morning hills
Exhausted by the nightlong dash through redolent French fields
Now voices raise a chant in every silenced church
Invading like the lethal sunlight of a summer dawn.
The train descends for the embrace of Spanish plains,
The olive groves of Portugal, carnations from its windows strewn
And gathered by the thirsting wraiths

As the skirts of old Philadelphia unfold
The red-lined slums and drug-imprisoned zones
Snarl below the elevated track,
This line that finds its station
In a history of forgotten slaves, by the cracked bell of Liberty
Where Washington himself owned souls, where the Slave Trade Act
Of 1794 was passed in Congress, where African children
Apprehended from ships were indentured to education
And grew only to glimpse their freedom, to receive two suits of clothes,
One new, one old.

This train conveying dreams on every rack,
In every trunk, conceived by many minds,
Comes to halt in Pennsylvania, but remains primed,
While we its crew
In hope and servitude
Lay sleepers towards new frontiers and stoke
The engines of our dreams.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, May 4, 2006

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