Saturday, April 28, 2012

Freight Train Haiku

CN No 308 engines 2297-8845
Recently, while doing some fair-weather railfanning with a cup of coffee at our nearby McDonald's, I took a series of digital photographs of CN train No 308.  We rail enthusiasts often retrospectively regret not preserving commonplace elements of a given era's rail scene, and my train of thought led to a blog post depicting an average CN freight train.  Simple caption information seemed uninteresting.  So it occurred to me...freight train prose.  Well, what is the most under-utilized  style of prose that I could use?  Then it dawned on me - of course, freight train haiku!  My first attempt to include the locomotive numbers resulted in a Haiku faux-pas, neglecting the 5-7-5 syllable count.  
CN motive power
2-2-9-7, 8-8-4
5-extra number
(practice my boy, practice)
GTW 138430
Saskatchewan grand
truck western grain eastward ho!
this ain't Michigan
OLNX 224028
O, NaOH!
UN eighteen twenty-four
a caustic cargo
GATX 75405
We're cookin' with gas
 barbecue season beckons
burgs and dogs await
BNSF 728993
Huge rolling canvas
graffiti job not finished
a tagger thwarted
NS 114577
Utility poles
linemen climbing skyward, for
now horizontal 
CNA 412732
Middle child short
Will I be a hi-cube soon?
On a paper route
Mid-train engine 8877
DPU to you
every pull involves a push
bringing up the rear
GLNX 8182
Albino tank car
propane mainly on the train
stands out in a crowd
AIMX 1114
Hauling tons of scrap
American Iron Steel 
giant grey trash can
TTGX 851645
UP autorack
Building America scheme
graffiti says SCRAM
TTGX 160598
Van Horne would be proud
transcontinental travel
CP rack on track
WC 37434
West Fraser lumber
cheesehead from the western woods
Dairy State of mind
CABX 470563
Cabot carbon black
  packed powdery particles
 soon getting tired
CN 414204
Carrying the TIBS
transmitting all's well back here
last becoming first

'Arigatou' for reading this far.  Seems I'm not the first to combine trains and haiku.  A Trains magazine forum did just that, eventually dissolving into haiku critics, limerick lovers, and a discussion of syllable counts versus various steam engine wheel arrangements.

Running extra...

As always, I welcome your comments on this post or any other, anytime.  Perhaps you'd like to get into the spirit of things and if commenting, express some or all of your comment in the form of haiku, that is a 5-7-5 syllable count.  Off-colour limericks also welcome.

Speaking of humour, I just finished listening to Steve Martin's Pure Drivel.  I would call it pure hilarity - I don't think I've laughed so much on the way to and from work as I did listening to Steve's at-times sarcastic narration.  From the chapter "Suggested Book Topics": Visions of melancholy from a fast-moving train.  Now some foreign writer is rushing to his keyboard ready to pound on it like Horowitz."  From the chapter "How I Joined Mensa: The Dictionary is a perfect example of over-alphabetization with its harsh rules and every little word neatly in place.  I prefer a softer, more fuzzy alphabetizing scheme that allows the mind to float free and happen over a word."

Steve really is a master of the written word, and is also known for his humorous Twitter account.  Some lyrics from his classic bluegrass number Calico Train:  Sorrow and strain, they can both long remain / They can take you and leave you alone and in pain / But freedom's in sight, it's a road in the night / It's lit by the light of the Calico Train.  


Adam Walker said...

How about this one?

Track side with Eric
Kingston sub remembrances
We seek to hear more


Eric said...

Congrats on trying the Trackside Treasure haiku challenge, Adam. Well done!

There will indeed be more from the Kingston Sub. I've got several posts in the can. Also dashing off quick posts on my VIA Rail book blog while working away at that project too. Almost a case of too many trains, too little time.

Thanks again for your comment,

Adam Walker said...

I couldn't resist doing another. This one is a little more self-referential:

Over under catch
CP Belleville CN York
Plug Hat Road Again


Bryan said...

This is so nerdy
My wife will make fun of me
I cannot resist


Eric said...

Very high on the haiku scale, Adam and Bryan, and good luck at Plug Hat.

As I mentioned, the haiku thing was an original idea, until I checked that Trains discussion forum archive and found that it has been done. Oh, the things that cross our mind when we're trackside...and no limericks yet.

Thanks for your comments,