Monday, June 8, 2009

Impermanence

He said he loved her,
carved those words into
the granite wall
so they would stay
until the mountain fell.
One day, he promised,
they would be together
again, and with that thought
cradled against his heart
he carved progress
through the valleys,
into the sides of mountains
blasting-digging-heaping
pounding iron rails
that would connect
north with south,
bankrolling his progress.
These rails, each ravenous mile
was bought in sweat, in mashed thumbs
caught between spike and sledge,
each soul lost by blasting error,
fatigue or bone-weary loneliness.
These rails, he has faith
they will be here forever,
each inch, each line
a measure of the progress
of man, champion over
nature, just like his love,
indelible love.

Rachel Westfall
June 8, 2009

20 comments:

Poetikat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Poetikat said...

(Let me try this again.)

So amazing that one can view a photograph of rail-lines and unearth a well-wrought love. Not so amazing when it's you, Rachel! You have such a gift.

Kat

Aniket said...

"he has faith
they will be here forever,
each inch, each line"

Such strength in faith displayed there. I second Kat completely "You have such a gift".

Catvibe said...

Wow. I'm with Kat and Aniket. That you could get into the soul here, of a person who created such a thing as the rail line. All that rails inspire, and the labor that went into making it, the love behind the desires. Jeeze Rachel, you are way way wise beyond your (29?) years, an essence that traverses time, you. I'm gonna spill now, Happy Birthday to you! (It's tomorrow, or so I hear ;-)

Aniket said...

Many happy returns of the Day Rachel! (Perhaps in advance)

And if you are this good at 29 (as Catherine says... and she is not much of a liar for how much I know her :D ) then I sure feel a lot more insignificant. :(

Will try to catch up nonetheless. :)

Char said...

Beautiful! I suppose we have to believe in forever, even when there's really no such thing.

Michelle Johnson said...

Beautiful expression of a labored life and how something can last forever. Sadly rails are removed from existence here in KY to make room for other prospective lifestyles. Have a nice day. And, Happy Birthday~

Ghost Dansing said...

John Henry.....

Ghost Dansing said...

John Henry 2

Ghost Dansing said...

John Henry 3

gawd what a great poem.....

RachelW said...

I just replied to everyone and Blogger ate my comment! Argh!! Must sign in before commenting... must sign in before commenting... bam, bam, hits head on keyboard.... ;)

Kat, thanks! I don't really feel like this one is mine at all. I was half asleep when I wrote it. I wonder if it's someone else's?

Aniket, thank you dear! :) You always make me smile. Thanks for the birthday wishes, too!

Cat, thanks for your kind words. And for the birthday wishes! I haven't been 29 since the last millenium, but I'm quite happy turning 38. The thirties have been so much better than the twenties were.

Char, yes!! Exactly!

Michelle, what we don't remove, nature chips away at. These rails are rapidly disappearing into the forest, and the lake is eating at them from underneath. Some have fallen in, creating lovely caves for forest creatures beneath the rails. It is sad to see them torn up though, isn't it?

Ghost, thank you!! I shall have to go check out JH now, in all 3 of his renditions.

Catvibe said...

OMG! And yet, that makes so much more sense given your you-ness! I think I heard that 20's thing on a FB comment. OOOPS. I am with you on the 30's, they were awesome. I'm pretty happy with 40's too.

RachelW said...

Heehee, that 29 thing was from an old school friend; I think she was teasing!

Rikkij said...

Rach- that's a faith and belief I envy. Nice piece full of hope. ~rick

Woman in a Window said...

I hear you. You've got to pack a big hammer. You've got to have a mean swing.

And those pines growing up through that track is just killing me! God, you've gotta love poetry through nature.

Karen said...

These are great lines, Rachel:

"and with that thought
cradled against his heart
he carved progress
through the valleys,
into the sides of mountains
blasting-digging-heaping
pounding iron rails
that would connect
north with south,
bankrolling his progress."

I can really relate to this, Rachel. You can't even imagine how much "progress" I've seen take the tops off mountains and displace the wildlife and destroy their habitats and the flora and fauna of those woodlands. "Mountain top removal" they call it, easier on the ears than "stripping"

fullonmommy said...

i'm sure many a man felt a deep struggle within doing these things...maybe not. But you've captured something here that is very strong.

SarahA said...

This is truely beautiful, you and *dance* I have lernt a new word (indelible. Thanking, you.

Karen said...

Happy Birthday today!

Faith said...

Happy Birthday, Rachel :)

Beautiful poem (always)

My great grandfather worked on the Great Northern Railroad. Somehow your poem brings him to me...his wife died quite young... I love the line "indelible love"

BTW I love love love the poems between you and Christopher!!! :D