Chemin De Fer
Alone on the railroad track
I walked with pounding heart.
The ties were too close together
or maybe too far apart.
The scenery was impoverished:
scrub-pine and oak; beyond
its mingled gray-green foliage
I saw the little pond
where the dirty old hermit lives,
lie like an old tear
holding onto its injuries
lucidly year after year.
The hermit shot off his shot-gun
and the tree by his cabin shook.
Over the pond went a ripple
The pet hen went chook-chook.
"Love should be put into action!"
screamed the old hermit.
Across the pond an echo
tried and tried to confirm it.
Elizabeth Bishop's Other Poems
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(13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939)