Night Journey

Posted by Fred Frailey
on Wednesday, June 1, 2016
A real change of pace today. My friend Joe Swanson of Northwestern University sent me this poem, "Night Journey," by Theodore Huebner Roethke [1908-1963], one of our last century's great writers and a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. I was so taken by the imagery that he put into these few words that my eyes misted over (blame it on my old age). What better tribute to such good writing than to share it with you.--Fred W. Frailey

Night Journey

Now as the train bears west,
Its rhythm rocks the earth,
And from my Pullman berth
I stare into the night
While others take their rest.
Bridges of iron lace,
A suddenness of trees,
A lap of mountain mist
All cross my line of sight,
Then a bleak wasted place,
And a lake below my knees.
Full on my neck I feel
The straining at a curve;
My muscles move with steel,
I wake in every nerve.
I watch a beacon swing
From dark to blazing bright;
We thunder through ravines
And gullies washed with light.
Beyond the mountain pass
Mist deepens on the pane;
We rush into a rain
That rattles double glass.
Wheels shake the roadbed stone,
The pistons jerk and shove,
I stay up half the night
To see the land I love.
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