May 062023
“Do Not Drive Through, This Poem’s In The Way”: Transportation Poems Keep Rolling In

Presented with appreciation for all who write poetry, and for those who have created eclectic poetry collections online and in print. This has enabled me to gather a second list of transportation poems to go with the bicycle poems. These literary posts are likely to come along every so often, since I have no intention of giving up my morning poetry habit.

Do Not Drive Through, This Poem’s In The Way/Villanelle for Slow Streets by MC Allen

Do not drive through, this poem’s in the way
let pavements pace be measured by your stride–
walk in the road, carry this poem through the day.

The Big Blue Bus by Rachel Walters

I’ve never trusted anything more
than my mother’s sense of direction.
A map was the only safe thing that she ever gave me,
I always knew which stop to get off.

“Hooray for the Buses (36 Teresita)” by MC Allen

A young boy might be riding to school,
An elder may need to get to the doctor,
A pilgrim may need to get to the cross,
A wedding party is going to the conservatory,

be right on time for their transfers!
This is not your last stop.

“Word” by David Woo

until we emerge from the last tunnel to where
the bridge’s gargantuan red suspensions
loom between a lowering mist and the bleared
upswell of blond hills, showing a mere tendril
of red cables and one tower’s massive tuning fork,

“Breaking Through” by Camilla A. Balas

five dark gray long-necked profiles
observing the slow lane,
cars behind them crawling.

“The Chance” by Arthur Sze

The blue-black mountains are etched
with ice. I drive south in fading light.
The lights of my car set out before
me, and disappear before my very eyes.

“First Snow in Schenectady” by Judith Harris

We drive down Main Street,
tires swerving to avert black ice
past the crumbling bricks of the State House,
and the dilapidated railroad tracks.

“No Stopping, No Getting Off” by Jillian Weise

On the highway
600 miles from home

in a downpour
I said – what?

“Trying to Name What Doesn’t Change” by Naomi Shihab Nye

Roselva says the only thing that doesn’t change
is train tracks. She’s sure of it.
The train changes, or the weeds that grow up spidery
by the side, but not the tracks.

“Travel” by Edna St. Vincent Millay

The railroad track is miles away,
And the day is loud with voices speaking,
Yet there isn’t a train goes by all day
But I hear its whistle shrieking.

“No Matter How Many Skies Have Fallen” by Erika Meitner

The overhead compartments groan
under the weight of our collective

sadness and in the emergency exit
row we must speak English, confirm

with a loud yes that we’re willing
to perform certain duties.

“Designed to Fly” by Ellen Waterston

“It’s designed to fly.
A hint of aileron,
a touch of rudder,
is all that is required.”

“After We Deplane” by James K. Zimmerman

someone has the job
when the flight crew
thanks us, smiling
in so many friendly
languages for riding
over clouds and mounds
of brown and green below

“The Problem with Travel” by Ada Limón

Every time I’m in an airport,
I think I should drastically
change my life: 

About the image

Olympia, WA has a poet laureate program. Sady Sparks, poet laureate 2019-2020, led the installation “Here We Are Magic” with Zyna Bakari, which placed stenciled lines of poetry around town using a special paint that appears when it gets wet. The words stay visible for a few days after a rain, I guess; I took this image on a beautiful sunny April Saturday walk to the farmers’ market with my sweetheart. Spotting poetry on a walk is like a little surprise gift in my day.

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