Posted by: John Munro | July 18, 2010

The Bishop’s Falls Trestle

that hot afternoon
a small group of us
left the river swimming spot,
the pier with the plank diving board,
hiked past the boom sticks
and scaled the steep bank
to the railroad tracks above

it loomed ahead of us
the huge mechano structure
four twin iron arches
on concrete piers and abutments
bridging the ‘Exploits’

Hayward, older and braver
had once walked the soaring overhead beams
high above the tracks
but the rest of us were content
to tread the cross-ties
glimpsing the turbid depths below

the smoke and then the train!
pounding around the far curve
right for us
wheels spinning, pistons pounding, whistle wailing
rocking, bucking, swaying
shaking the spans
trembling the water
getting bigger

terrified, we raced for a safety pier
and reached it just in time

the engineer smoked past
hand still on the whistle
trailed by the
coal tender, boxcars, tank cars, flatcars and caboose
squeeking, groaning, clickety-clacking
inches from our faces
then gained the other side
and howled his arrival at the station

we laughed and talked
on towards the lily pond
to learn
float, dog paddle, breast stroke, and
best of all, crawl
head down, fling arms forward, fingers together
push down and back
kick, surge ahead
later, lungs bursting,
explore the sandy bottom

finally hunger and fatigue
forced us back on to the trestle

perhaps just a speeder this time

John Munro
Feb 12, 2000

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