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"I watch the passage of the morning train with the same feeling that I do the rising of the sun, which is hardly more regular. Their train of clouds stretching far behind and rising higher and higher, going to heaven while the cars are going to Boston, conceals the sun for a minute and casts my distant field into the shade, a celestial train beside which the petty train of cars which hugs the earth is but the barb of the spear...All day the fire-steed flies over the country..." -The railroad as seen from Walden (H.D. Thoreau, 1845)

WALDEN AS SEEN
FROM THE RAILROAD (1845)

Amidst the pourin' smoke and showerin'
         sparks, I took the railroad
    to Boston. It was 1845,
and we flew down the rails from
      Concord to Lincoln, a fine
  fall day, with all the colors out,
       when suddenly the glint of the pond
 to my left, like a silver dollar, or a great
               mirror lyin' there (was it White's or
Walden?), and I looked out the window
                as we thundered by, just a glance, for the sun
       was blindin' off the water, when I saw that man
sittin' by the shore, a flute in his hand,
        the queer one who lives in the woods in a
               cabin he built, oh yes, I heard about him,
   perhaps he was playin' when we rushed by
                  and had to put his flute down 'till we passed,
          but all I can say is that he looked up
                  and he wasn't smilin', that's for sure, just
starin' at us, all in the second it took to pass,
               I near forgot I was on the train, and for a moment
       it seemed he was movin' faster
                           than we were.


All written material © Bill Schechter, 2016
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