How old was I,
when the steam engine ceased to be a steam engine?
When did the valves and rods and hissing
give way to engines with something missing?
No riveted tank, no clanging bell,
the sound of steam I knew so well,
pressing the track in deliberate churning,
massive cast iron wheels turning,
What night was it that I awoke to a droning roar,
of aircraft plunging from the sky toward my door?
I feared, running out and looking up, sure to see
a ball of flame dropping down upon me.
No, this roar was a land based sounder,
not up there, but over yonder,
toward the tracks I explored by day,
for adventures that lie along the way.
But where was the shrill warning cry
of a steam whistle tugged by engineer?
No valves expiring hot breath to ply,
the wheels to the dark ribbon adhere.
Now I see the sloping cycloptic face
beaming toward the turn,
no smoke stack belching, no coal to burn.
Just small unseemly wheels, gentle on the track,
humming motor without squeals
diminished by the click and clack.
This single eye staring down on me,
was a new creature breaking through,
my vanishing childhood taking flee,
a security blanket steadfast and true,
fixed in my heart, my friendly local choo-choo.
Was I eight or ten? Perhaps earlier, then?
No matter. Steam will not this way come again.
© 2010 Roger w. Bodo