Poetry Genius Shares the Best Train Rhymes Ever

Poetry Genius Editor in Chief

Happy National Poetry Month! As we gear up for #AmtrakResidency, which will give 24 writers the opportunity to work on their projects during inspiring, long-distance train travel, we wanted to join this country-wide celebration and learn a bit more about train poetry.

We chatted with Austin Allen, poet, essayist, and founding editor of Poetry Genius, an annotation forum for poetry, prose and drama.

Who’s your favorite up-and-coming poet today?
It's too hard to pick just one, so I'll answer in the most biased way possible by naming some talented friends who have annotated their poetry on Poetry Genius: Erica Dawson, Jenna Le, Rosanna Oh, Rebecca Parson, Joanna Pearson, Katherine Robinson.

What’s the best poem about trains you’ve ever read?
Philip Larkin’s "The Whitsun Weddings" is my favorite train poem and one of my favorite poems, period. I love the balance it strikes between reserved, skeptical detachment and a sense of communion with fellow passengers--both common feelings on train trips, I think. I'd also recommend Mark Strand's "The Couple," although the train in that one is sort of an antagonist.

Where do you like to write?
In bed, late at night, for a maximum of comfort and a minimum of distraction.

Want to write a haiku about Amtrak?
The late train rocks, sways
blue seats, nodding travelers,
gold light, sea-shadow

Now it's your turn! What are your favorite travel inspired poems? Share them in the comments below.

9 comments
vanessa_hua
vanessa_hua

In a Station of the Metro

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
petals on a wet, black bough. 

Ezra Pound

GEschwartz
GEschwartz

Find it on a map

follow it on the time-tables

ride beneath June skies

GEschwartz
GEschwartz

Mapleleaf flames past

Upstate's New York stories told

--so much speaking still

GEschwartz
GEschwartz

Observing by train

responding to land and sky

each reading anew

GEschwartz
GEschwartz

See America

by train: be ever in this

must-always-be

GEschwartz
GEschwartz

Cirrus clouds, mare's-tails

whisper the morning news as

a brakeman sees all

GEschwartz
GEschwartz

Train tracks bare their shine

to moon's bright geography

as we speed westward

ElaineFrankonis
ElaineFrankonis

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.


All night there isn't a train goes by,

Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming,

But I see its cinders red on the sky,

And hear its engine steaming.


My heart is warm with the friends I make,

And better friends I'll not be knowing.

Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,

No matter where it's going.

ElaineFrankonis
ElaineFrankonis

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.


All night there isn't a train goes by,

Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming,

But I see its cinders red on the sky,

And hear its engine steaming.


My heart is warm with the friends I make,

And better friends I'll not be knowing.

Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,

No matter where it's going.

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