Aboard the Empire Builder with Jacob

Aboard the Empire Builder with Jacob

Written at the request of my grandson
to accompany pencil sketches he made
on a train trip back East last winter.

Poems for the Columbia Gorge


Far below the tracks
The river is a snake
Winding blue-green
To the wide, wide sea.


The day is slate gray and windy
But the Columbia is happy,
Tipping white caps of greeting
To our train, a silver bullet
Speeding through the chilly air.


Our train plows through a total blizzard
And out my window I see a sea
Of white so thick, I cannot see
To see.

Minot, North Dakota

The houses in snowy Minot as we rattle past
Look ready for the party,
Little birthday cakes with vanilla icing on top
And warm yellow lights in the windows
Twinkling like candles.

Cut Bank, Montana

Fast tracks go clickety-clack, clickety-clack
And trees zip by, just like that.
Far off from the side of the tracks
Stand the lonely, time-abandoned shacks.

Where did the happy families go?

Dan Armstrong