Train Memory


In the barrenness and cold of winter, I traveled for the first time to Russia. I wrote this poem on a Soviet train as we wound through the Russian woods and farmland from St. Petersburg to Moscow. My first train ride through the former Soviet Union overflowed with the romance of high adventure, set against the winterscape of the vast frozen tundra of the Land of the North.  You will follow my random thought process as I wrote the poem while covering hundreds of miles dotted with Russian villages and snow- covered land.

The ironic twist at the end is quite unexpected.

 Train Memory

I relished the romance

of riding a sleeper train

from St. Petersburg to Moscow.

Antiquated engine lapping

the miles at night,

speeding me to dawn’s destiny.

The train’s



cradled sleepy dreams

of Russian villages nestled

hard and warm against the snow.

Poet and doctor, Zhivago’s train

teaming through miles of

Russian pristine winterland.

A refuge and rendezvous,

crystal palace of icicles and snow,

frozen in time by forbidden love.

But the train’s romance derailed


at the thought of

thousands of Jews

packed into boxcars like living

stinking fish smothered into rusty tin cans

shipped unjustly,

sentenced to death camps

to work,

to die for one man’s rancor

and the calling to bless the earth.

That memory,

a generation removed,

just ruined trains for me.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Tara says:

    Powerful ending!

  2. Bonnie says:

    Thanks, Tara!

  3. Karen Faith says:

    Very powerful and unexpected ending. How sad and how true.

  4. Bonnie says:

    Hey Karen Faith,

    I am sure as a Jewish believer a poem like this is impacting.

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.


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