The Northerner Lullaby

Short train, old train,
Running-out-of-gold train,
Paint flaking like money from your dull drab side.
Four hundred miles on the Northerner ride.
Twelve hours, long hours, seem to seep...
Soon it seems there's nothing for the passengers to do but
Sleep, train, sleep.

Dark train, bright train,
In-the-full-moonlight train.
Hills gleam clear and gray as if with smooth new snow.
Full moon sharpens everything below,
Points our Southern way by rising left and steep;
A blink, and it swings right to show me morning: so I did
Sleep, train, sleep.

Not-a freight train,
Always-running-late train;
Backwards from the station under fireworks it runs
Someone shoots one at us as the Night Train comes;
Made welcome aboard but not abroad, we sweep
Onwards from the city; nothing other to disturb us from our
Sleep, train, sleep.

High train, low train,
Way-I-always-go train;
Writing cards to friends from the city I've just left,
Cloak my rug and pillow, every time I grow more deft;
I touch my feet to the heater grill. I'm glad that it's been cheap,
And saved me time; one final time I soothe my mind to
Sleep, train, sleep.

North train, south train,
Hear-by-word-of-mouth, train
That they'll close you down by the end of the week:
To the shuddering window, I press my cheek.
South in Autumn, North in Spring, you took me each leap
To freedom, and to home, and far we've gone together, train, now
Sleep, train, sleep.