A Woman’s Journey

The words of this poem were written to the beat of a train clunking along the track.

A Woman’s Journey

She sat alone and staring through the window
of the carriage as she listened to the clattering
of wheels against the track.

The repetitive monotony reflective of her history;
the drudgery and blandness she had come now to expect.
Inquisitiveness seized me as I thought about the stories

she could tell me of the life that she had lived.
Tales of broken marriages, perhaps, or just an
anecdote or two about the woes of rearing children

in the throes of adolescence, or the work she’d
undertaken just to earn an honest crust.

And still she heard the clattering of wheels against the track.

Her face was lined with evidence of times that she
remembered with reluctance, for the substance of
existence hadn’t been a fine experience.

Her eyes, when studied closely, told a story of ‘if onlys’
and the loneliness was swimming in the moisture of her tears.

It was clear there had been prettiness before the
claws of bitterness and time, with its relentlessness,
had rubbed away her youth.

Her hair was clean and ordinary, scraped into a pony-tail,
and where the dull light caught it showed a greyness at the roots.
Her hands were creased and leathered; nails short and water-weathered,

and her mouth, without expression, kept her secrets tight within.
She held her head indifferently and stayed within her sanity.
Her fingers stroked protectively the quiver of her chin.

A shiver went right through me as I pitied her existence,
wishing I could make a difference to her life of disenchantment.
She looked at me defiantly. I held her anger quietly.

And still she heard the clattering of wheels against the track.

Then staring at her candidly, I asked of her the question.

But the woman didn’t answer,

as I gazed at my reflection.

About ShirleyB

I was born with the muse in me. Sometimes I wish it would go away but it won't, so, good, bad or ugly it will escape intermittently.
This entry was posted in Life & Emotion, My Video Poems and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to A Woman’s Journey

  1. whimsygizmo says:

    Love the rhythm of this. I can hear the click and clack, matching her heartbeat.
    And that ending. Whew. Wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sanaa Rizvi says:

    She held her head indifferently and stayed within her sanity.
    Her fingers stroked protectively the quiver of her chin.

    Such a whole lot of power and emotion here in your lines…!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. othermary says:

    What great empathy and imagination you have.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh the stories held inside the faces we meet when traveling. Each a story underneath that shell.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ShirleyB says:

    Thank you, Bjorn


  6. Shirley, such a brilliant narrative poem with an ending that answered my questions. The underlying pain that screamed in the pauses and refrain could only come from someone who knew the story behind the water-weathered face. Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Grace says:

    The ending is an unexpected twist Shirley ~ Love the reflections of one’s life ~

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I do that a lot to…write fiction that others think is autobiographical. You can get a lot of free counseling that way! :0)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Bryan Ens says:

    Love the repeated refrain of hearing the wheels on the tracks…and wonderful shift of 3rd to 1st person perspective at the end.


  10. ShirleyB says:

    Thank you, Bryan.


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