Always on the Train
Writing poems about writing poems
is like rolling bales of hay in Texas.
Nothing but the horizon to stop you.
But consider the railroad's edge of metal trash;
bird perches, miles of telephone wires.
What is so innocent as grazing cattle?
If you think about it, it turns into words.
Trash is so cheerful; flying up
like grasshoppers in front of the reaper.
The dust devil whirls it aloft; bronze candy wrappers,
squares of clear plastic—windows on a house of air.
Below the weedy edge in last year's mat,
red and silver beer cans.
In bits blown equally everywhere,
the gaiety of flying paper
and the black high flung patterns of flocking birds.
From This Art: Poems on Poetry edited by Michael Wiegers. Copyright © 2003 by Ruth Stone. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press. All right reserved.
Ruth Stone, whose poetry collection In the Next Galaxy (Copper Canyon Press, 2002) received the National Book Award, was the recipient of the 2002 Wallace Stevens Award given by the Academy of American Poets.
Date Published: 2003-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/always-train