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The Old Tracks, a Poem by Nolo Segundo

In my town and only

90 feet from my house

Run a pair of old tracks,

Railroad tracks older

Than my house, even

Older than me, and I

Am become old, very,

Very old, like a tree

Whose branches

Betray it with

Every strong wind

And fall to ground

Leaving less and

Less of the tree.


I used to walk in

Between those

Carefully laid

Iron rails, stepping

On the worn wood

Of the old ties as

Though they were

Made of glass….

I walked the length

Of my small town,

I walked the world.

I walked where

Passenger trains

Carried lives and

Their once warm,

Now cold, dreams

And I was part of

Each life, now gone

To ether and mist,

And so too my

Lonely soul will

Ride those rails

One bright day.


Still, a freight train

Comes by once or

Even twice a week,

And I thrill to hear

Its wailing horn as

it cries out for a

forgotten glory,

and the ground

still shakes a bit

as the old train

lumbers slowly

by my house and

I wait a holy wait

For the music of

Its rumbling and

The cry of its old

Heart as a young

Engineer pulls the

Whistle and sees

Not that he is

Driving eternity.


Nolo Segundo, pen name of L.j.Carber, 77, became a published poet in his 8th decade in over 190 literary journals in 15 countries on 4 continents. A retired teacher [America, Japan, Taiwan, the war zone of Cambodia, 1973-74], he has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and thrice for Best of the Net. has published 3 collections: The Enormity of Existence [2020]; Of Ether and Earth [2021]; and Soul Songs [2022]. These titles like much of his work reflect the awareness he gained when he had an NDE whilst nearly drowning in a Vermont river: That he has—IS--a consciousness that predates birth and survives death, what poets since Plato have called the soul.


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