Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WHISTLE OF THE TRAIN, by LEVI BISHOP



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THE WHISTLE OF THE TRAIN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The time is up, the friends are near
Last Line: The whistle of the train.
Subject(s): Death; Farewell; Railroads; Dead, The; Parting; Railways; Trains


The time is up, the friends are near,
To bid adieu again,
As soon as we again shall hear,
So welcome to the waiting ear,
The whistle of the train.

Impatient now we long have stood,
To catch the cheerful strain,
That echoes from the distant wood,
And fills the air as with a flood,
The whistle of the train.

They come! the whirling smoke we see,
As in a hurricane;
And yelling in ecstatic glee,
So wild, and shrill, and bold, and free,
The whistle of the train.

A moment only now to stay,
For naught can here detain;
A word is all that we can say;
A parting kiss; it calls away --
The whistle of the train.

The air is calm, the day is bright,
No sign of gloomy rain;
And like the arrow is our flight,
To instant death, perhaps, despite
The whistle of the train.

'T were wiser far to check our pace,
Our eagerness restrain;
If "switch" or "draw" be out of place,
It sounds a knell, in frightful race,
The whistle of the train.

The gentle kine are on the way;
Put on the "brakes" amain;
"Cow-catcher" will quick work essay,
Unless they instantly obey,
The whistle of the train.

The nimble deer is on the track,
His forest to regain;
He springs as from pursuing pack,
And distant leaves behind his back,
The whistle of the train.

On every side the whirling land,
The hamlets of the plain;
The rural village is at hand;
They wait, that crowd upon the stand,
The whistle of the train.

While thus from home we travel far,
For pleasure or for gain;
We take, at night, the "sleeping car;"
Then howls, our slumbers to debar,
The whistle of the train.

And when in nightly shadows deep,
We long have restless lain;
And heavy hours upon us creep;
How mournful, in a fitful sleep,
The whistle of the train!

We dash among the mountains high,
And hear that wild refrain;
From ledge to ledge the echoes fly;
It starts the eagles in the sky --
The whistle of the train.

It sounds as from the burning throne;
Of Pluto's gloomy reign;
Or like a giant's deepest groan,
From depths of mortal anguish blown,
The whistle of the train.

And yet how pleasant is the yell,
And free from every pain,
When "home, sweet home," it deigns to tell,
And rings it out through gorge and dell --
The whistle of the train.

We have it when the trip is o'er,
The whistle "on the brain;"
Like motion of the ship, ashore;
We hear that oft recurring roar,
The whistle of the train.





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