Roger Craik

First Journey

About the Poem

Down Stranger Roads, BlazeVOX, 2014
Illustration by Kara Wellman '16

As inch by inch the train pulled out
with me inside alone,
I saw my mother in her Fifties skirt
and black-rimmed glasses and dark coat
watching still,
and then, as if to race the train,
my father running after me
not as an athlete would
or fathers of my friends at school,
but stroking, pressing down the air
with the heels of his hands and then with his palms
like some great cat with padded paws.

And all that afternoon through hours of fields
and towns whose names lodge with me still,
I saw him in my mind’s eye running thus
beyond the platform’s end and then beside the rails
on stony ground, on straggling grass,
outdistanced, and outdistanced further still.

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