Prairie Poetry   
  Song of Myself #61 – Fare-collector

The fare-collector goes through the train
-- he gives notice by the jingling of loose change

         --Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

the clatter and rattle
of metal against metal –
wheels straddle rails

embers in your eyes

silver against steel
copper filed by silver –
coins for the ride

the sway will keep you awake

change for the orphan on the way to meet new parents
mother on the way to meet her children’s father
uncle with no place to go but to his sister’s farm
brother who will never reconcile with his rebel sibling

matrons kept watch for buffalo
drummer counts his pennywhistles
peddler practices his patter

to the chug of the engine
to the clank of the cars
to the clatter and rattle

change for the deacons fresh from a church convention
printer headed to a frontier paper
cattleman worried his herd has been moved north

outlaw who will stick
a revolver in my face
when I ask for his ticket


  Gary Blankenship
  Copyright © 2008 Gary Blankenship
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