December 4, 2013

Max’s Musings

By Max Molleston

Holiday time is “Way Back” time, to me. Memories for 50+ers of our parents, brothers and sisters, and grandparents. We think way back to the times things were simple and we were happy: memories we can capture most of the time. I am about to reintroduce you to the recently departed Seamus Heaney, a modern poet of some renown. The setting is surely memory placed, and the poem is titled:

The Railway Children.

When we climbed the slopes of the cutting
We were eye-level with the white cups
Of the telegraph poles and the sizzling wires.

Like lovely freehand they curved for miles
East and miles west beyond us, sagging
Under the burden of swallows.

We were small and thought we knew nothing
Worth knowing. We thought words traveled the wires
In the shiny pouches of raindrops,

Each one seeded full with the light
Of the sky, the gleam of the lines, and ourselves
So infinitesimally scaled

We could stream through the eye of a needle.

Kids off by themselves, by railroad tracks. Who among us, men at least, has not thought about being there, or was there. Doubtless, they, and we in our times, experienced sight and sound with these trains on their journeys. Many of us sit through our TV movies and see the magic of steam engine locomotives leading the train. There is a thrill left in such magic the railway children could not see, except for the sparrows. But they could and did think. Time for young minds to expand and escape from “knew nothing Worth knowing.”

I have a story about walking the tracks I’ll tell another time.

I want to introduce you to one of the poems of Richard Wallarab, a Davenporter, leaving there after graduation from St Ambrose College (now University).

Walking the Rails

Hiking along the tracks
gives meaning to a walk.
You can cross the mountains,
rivers, desert and hover
a thousand feet above the earth
on a steel thread, only to
fall six inches when you slip.
Tracks meander through the
country, wander around the hills
and cut apart cities and towns.
Two companions, faithful and
true, tied together by duty.
A track makes a good friend.
But kids don’t seem to walk
the rails like we did
when I was a boy.

Holiday donations from my friend Richard Wallarab and another poet I also read, Seamus Heaney. Not everyone has walked the rails but lots of us imagined a train trip, paid the fare and rode on our journey with “two companions, faithful and true.” As a faithful companion for you readers in this magazine, I promise to return next year. My memory suggests January will begin a new decade for this effort.

Filed Under: Personal Growth