Is there anything in the world sadder
than a motionless train in the rain?
Sadder still is the gray wall
opposite the station master’s desk,
where he has nailed his eyes
above a black scratch that never heals.
And sadder than that are his hands,
long and supple, gentle and kind,
that have fingered the wondrous
names of many towns where he has
never been, their music strange to him,
with instruments carved of wood,
and their weather blowing in from
the sea, their tantalizing meats smoking
on charcoal grills. He has never seen
their golden fish gliding in the shallows,
or heard braided voices of beautiful girls,
dressed all in white on a summer street.
Pray for him, who is sadder than a train
sitting motionless on a drizzly day, waiting
on a sidetrack for passengers weighed down
by luggage, too afraid to leave their homes.