Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WATCHERS, by BERTON BRALEY



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THE WATCHERS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The trains go roaring past by day and flashing by at night
Last Line: Who never know the world is wide—and do not want to know!
Subject(s): Railroads; Travel; Vision; Watchmen; Railways; Trains; Journeys; Trips


The trains go roaring past by day and flashing by at night
Bearing adventurers of trade or seekers of delight,
While from the little houses that front the right of way
There gaze the folks whom destiny has planted there to stay.
And some are wistful, wondering how it would seem to be
Click-clicking over shining rails, of every fetter free,
They thrill with dreaming vision of towns and fields afar
Which come to those who flicker past upon a Pullman car.

Yet most of those who watch the trains are scarcely stirred at all,
For them these magic chariots have neither spell nor thrall;
Their passage only serves to break the round of things and then
Dull-eyed the watchers go about their humdrum life again.
No longing leaps within their breasts, no envy fills their glance,
They never see in rushing trains the lure of high romance,
They only mutter, "she's on time" or "she's a little late,"
While great adventure thunders past their very door-yard gate!

Oh, sad it is for watchers who are wistful as they gaze
On many windowed caravans that sweep down metaled ways,
Yet though they never take that trail the dream is theirs to hold,
The thought to nurse and cherish and the vision to unfold,
But for the other watchers, the dull phlegmatic kind,
Theirs is the greater tragedy, for they are wholly blind,
And what could be so sad as they whose lives are bleak and slow
Who never know the world is wide—and do not want to know!





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