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From a Railway Carriage -- Robert Louis Stevenson

Sorry - egroups didn't send this properly yesterday, so I'm resending it as
today's poem.
(Poem #84) From a Railway Carriage
Faster than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;
And charging along like troops in a battle
All through the meadows the horses and cattle:
All of the sights of the hill and the plain
Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by.
Here is a child who clambers and scrambles,
All by himself and gathering brambles;
Here is a tramp who stands and gazes;
And here is the green for stringing the daisies!
Here is a cart runaway in the road
Lumping along with man and load;
And here is a mill, and there is a river:
Each a glimpse and gone forever!
-- Robert Louis Stevenson
        (From 'A Child's Garden of Verses')

Stevenson's childrens' poetry had a charm all it's own. Like all good
childrens' verse, this one has a strong sense of rhythm and emphasised
rhymes, delighting as much in the sound of the poem as in what it is saying.
Like all the best poetry, of any sort, this piece also blends form and
content beautifully, the regular metre evoking the rhythms of the train, and
the rhyme scheme rushing the reader along and lending a sense of speed. To
complete the effect, note that each image is contained entirely within its
couplet, splitting the poem into a series of snapshots, 'each a glimpse and
gone forever'.


Notes etc: See 'Requiem', poem #20

For another nice biography of Stevenson, see
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19 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Manzoor said...

I have admired R. L. Stevenson's poem "From a Railway Carriage" ever since
my childhood days. Probably, I first read it in 1966 when I resided in
Calcutta. On reading the poem one actually feels like one is travelling on a
fast-moving train. Mr Stevenson uses facts from an actual train journey as
well as his imagination and superimposes them beautifully. It is a short
poem but absolutely magnificent. I have read it a countless number of times
and never get tired of reading it. And the rhyming scheme (or metres) is
just perfect. I am sure there must be a countless number of admirers, both
young and old, of this poem all over the world.-Mohsin Maqbool Elahi

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