Poetry Friday is hosted by Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
Growing up in India during the 1960’s, we travelled by train when we travelled at all. My favorite trip was the one we took every year from Bombay to Cape Comorin, which is at the very tip of the Indian continent, where three oceans meet: the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. It was a long trip, but our traveling days were graced by the beauty of the Indian coastline and…the fabulousness of our sleeping car! For four days, my siblings and I (along with two nannies who spent a lot of time sleeping, if I remember correctly) shared an entire railroad car with bunk beds, arm chairs, our own bath room and a dining alcove. It was bliss.
All these years later, I have many vivid memories of these journeys, especially the views of India’s coastline and some of the bridges we crossed as we made our way to our destination. And all these years later, it takes just the sound of a train whistle to send me back in time. And, today, in the midst of the cornfields of upstate New York, I heard the faint sound of a train somewhere off in the distance…and thought of my far away homeland, of travel, and the journeys I’ve taken.
Even now, I hear one and I long to leave
without a suitcase or a plan; I want to step
onto the platform and reach for
the porter’s hand and buy a ticket
to some other life; I want to sit
in the big seats and watch fields
turn into rivers or cities. I want to eat
cake on the dining car’s
unsteady tablecloths, to sleep
while whole seasons
slip by. I want to be a passenger
again: a person who hears the name
of a place and stands up, a person
who steps into the steam of arrival.