Now that it’s warm enough to keep the windows open at night, I can hear the trains better. This poem was on the Writer’s Almanac a few weeks ago and describes the sound of trains perfectly.
From “Things I Didn’t Know I Loved: After Nazim Hikmet,” by Linda Pastan.
But how about the sound of trains,
those drawn-out whistles of longing in the night,
like coyotes made of steam and steel, no color at all,
reminding me of prisoners on chain gangs I’ve only seen
in movies, defeated men hammering spikes into rails,
the burly guards watching over them?
Those whistles give loneliness and departure a voice.
It is the kind of loneliness I can take in my arms, tasting
of tears that comfort even as they burn, dampening the pillows
and all the feathers of all the geese who were plucked to fill