The Clattering Train

Who is in charge of the clattering train?
The axles creak, and the couplings strain.
Ten minutes behind at the Junction. Yes!
And we’re twenty now to the bad—no less!
At every mile we a minute must gain!
Who is in charge of the clattering train?

Why, flesh and blood, as a matter of course!
You may talk of iron, and prate of force;
But, after all, and do what you can….
Man is in charge of the thundering train!

Man, in the shape of a modest chap
In fustian trousers and greasy cap;
A trifle stolid, and something gruff,
Yet, though unpolished, of sturdy stuff….

Only a Man, but away at his back,
In a dozen cars, on the steely track,
A hundred passengers place their trust
In this fellow of fustian, grease, and dust….

The hiss of steam-spurts athwart the dark.
Lull them to confident drowsiness. Hark!
What is that sound? ‘Tis the stertorous breath
Of a slumbering man—and it smacks of death!
Full sixteen hours of continuous toil
Midst the fume of sulphur, the reek of oil,
Have told their tale on the man’s tired brain,
And Death is in charge of the clattering train!

Those poppy-fingers his head incline
Lower, lower, in slumber’s trance;
The shadows fleet, and the gas-gleams dance
Faster, faster in mazy flight,
As the engine flashes across the night.
Mortal muscle and human nerve
Cheap to purchase, and stout to serve.
Strained too fiercely will faint and swerve.
Over-weighted, and underpaid,
This human tool of exploiting Trade,
Though tougher than leather, tenser than steel.
Fails at last, for his senses reel,
His nerves collapse, and, with sleep-sealed eyes,
Prone and helpless a log he lies!
A hundred hearts beat placidly on,
Unwitting they that their warder’s gone;
A hundred lips are babbling blithe,
Some seconds hence they in pain may writhe.
For the pace is hot, and the points are near,
And Sleep hath deadened the driver’s ear;
And signals flash through the night in vain.
Death is in charge of the clattering train!

Punch, 4 October 1890

ridiculous inspiration

Sharing some catch-up and thoughts about how the election and pandemic get along with being non-neurotypical.

leslee hare

Need a break? Life got you down? How about a few words to help you feel better about confusion?

It’s okay when nothing makes sense. Because “All Reasoning Is Futile.”

blurred abstract image of a meditator sitting on a lotus flower with a beam of light shooting through his body

My story’s a bit extreme, but ‘typical’ seems a thing of the past now, so I’ll go out on a limb and share it.

I’ve seen myself as an architect for most of my life. But in 2010, out of work and deeply stressed, I began to experience psychic phenomena. With no frame of reference or mentorship, it was scary, and I was unprepared.

When I began ‘channeling’ — if that’s even what it was — I grasped desperately for explanations. Why was I spending my time this way? How could I ensure that these creations — the words I committed to paper, the images that flowed from my head and heart — weren’t merely random products of messed-up brain…

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chasing fear

Send fear packing.

leslee hare

chunky barber shears

Fear and I have a dog-and-bone relationship.

Power outages. Achey chills. TV news. Unemployment. Downed trees. The Election. Plague-doctor nose cones. Lost mail-in tax returns. Panic attacks. Masks with too-tight elastic. A sinking bank balance. That large creature in the attic that will scrape through the walls any day now. A low car tire. Poison Ivy. Loud trucks. Sweaty-palmed phone calls. The cat’s swollen, bald ear. Ruined soup in the fridge. Bathroom scale readouts. An empty asthma inhaler. Search results for “How much is too much whisky?”

I’ve got a bottomless basket of worry-bones for Fear to toss, and I obediently chase them down rabbit holes. I bet I’m not the only human with a stash of stinky buried bones to supplement the common ones. It’s become a family tradition, and I get it. I used to believe in it.

Maybe it’s my Deep-South upbringing or my Autistic characteristics, but…

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