From tiny tots to big ones, Who doesn’t enjoy a story about trains?

My mother would tell me I was the “little engine that could!” when she was confronted with my childhood orneriness toward anything from making up my bed to eating all my green beans. 

Before my son took up his model railroad hobby, at age 10 he spent hours while recuperating from a broken femur (the large bone in his thigh) creating “miles” of tracks, valleys, fuel-tanks, mountains, shanties and quarries for toy trains roaming his bedclothes.

Emily Dickinson’s narrative suggests the sounds with the tale.

I like to see it lap the miles –
And lick the Valleys up –
And stop to feed itself at Tanks –
And then – prodigious step

Around a Pile of Mountains –
And supercilious peer
In Shanties – by the sides of Roads –
And then a Quarry pare

To fit its sides
And crawl between
Complaining all the while
In horrid – hooting stanza –
Then chase itself down Hill –

And neigh like Boanerges –
Then – prompter than a Star
Stop – docile and omnipotent
At its own stable door –

As Christmas approaches, I like www.story-lovers.com for a resource on holiday tales that includes train songs for children.

“There’s The Polar Expressby Chris Van Allsburg. In The Long Winterby Laura Ingalls-Wilder, they keep waiting for the train to arrive with supplies, but blizzards keep coming which cover the tracks. Finally when spring arrives (late!) the train finally makes it, with a “Christmas box” from a pastor in their former town, so they celebrate Christmas in May.”

If “Boanerges” the train “fits its sides” between a pared “Quarry” and crawls, “between / Complaining all the while / In horrid — hooting” sounds, perhaps finally his sleep will be like a child at the end of the day. Children, too, eventually “Stop — docile  and omnipotent”. Children in their beds. Boanerges, like a horse who has run in the fields all day, “At its own stable door — ”.  

Digest A Poem A Day — Accept What Comes Your Way

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