long way home

Rattling along from station to station, the short line of old passenger cars carried its humble portion of the workforce home. Stop by stop, the hard benches emptied, until just a few tired souls remained aboard; in one of the cars, only one. The tracks grew quite curvy as they wound along a riverside into a mountain valley.

How the man’s neck ached

all the more as the train rocked

he composed his mind

thinking of an animal he loved

wading near a quaint marina



word count: 83

Weekly Tanka Prompt Challenge – Week 78 – Animals & Love


      • I hadn’t heard of Robert Service until 20+ years ago, when I was in a pub with a few work colleagues. I’d admitted that I’d never taken to poetry and one of them was urging me to read some Philip Larkin. I was saying I’d give it a try when I had more time, when I was interrupted by an inebriated stranger in dirty work clothes, with the words, “It is later than you think”. He suggested I should get on with it and start reading poetry straightaway, but he dismissed Larkin as a misanthrope and said I should begin with something by “the Kipling of the Yukon”. He then went on to recite several of Service’s poems very loudly. He finished by challenging me to an arm-wrestling match. I went along with it to avoid offending him (he had the air of an unexploded bomb) and lost 2/1 (he let me win once, I think). When he’d finished he staggered to the bar, leaving me at an empty table, my companions all having slinked off to another one while I was distracted. Drunk or not, his recommendation was a good one.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. i love this one. kill the quite and quaint. both judging words that dont belong in the world you built.
    my favorite piece so far. beautiful.
    thanks for making this powm

    Liked by 1 person

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