Friday, October 10, 2008

From a Railway Carriage

From A Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson

Faster than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;
And charging along like troops in a battle
All through the meadows the horses and cattle:
All of the sights of the hill and the plain
Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by.
Here is a child who clambers and scrambles,
All by himself and gathering brambles;
Here is a tramp who stands and gazes;
And here is the green for stringing the daisies!
Here is a cart runaway in the road
Lumping along with man and load;
And here is a mill, and there is a river:
Each a glimpse and gone forever!

The cadence of this poem thrills me because it reminds me of the rhythmic rocking motion you feel when riding on a train or in a car. It absolutely must be read aloud to observe this effect and when it is, it gives me chills. I remember my mother reading it to me in a sing-song voice and I was transported to rainy England a hundred years ago, a place I will never go but in my imagination.

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