Chenim De Fer

Alone on the railroad track
I walked with pounding heart.
The ties were too close together
or maybe too far apart.

The scenery was impoverished:ewing-galloway-empty-railroad-tracks.jpg
scrub-pine and oak; beyond
its mingled gray-green foliage
I saw the little pond

where the dirty old hermit lives,
lie like an old tear
holding onto its injuries
lucidly year after year.

The hermit shot off his shot-gun
and the tree by his cabin shook.
Over the pond went a ripple
The pet hen went chook-chook.

"Love should be put into action!"
screamed the old hermit.
Across the pond an echo
tried and tried to confirm it.


I like this poem a lot, like most of her poems it is what it is there is no hidden meaning you have to try to find. The title translated into English means iron way. This poem is simple, I like the way it swirls and flows around you as you read it. I like the rhyming and the imagery of the dirty old hermit who lives by the little pond; and the impoverished scenery. I see a woman walking along a railroad track, contemplating her life or her circumstances. I think this may be one of my favorite poems of Elizabeth Bishop.