Charles Darnell

(01/19/1950 / St Martinsville, Louisiana)

Lac-Mégantic


This town sleeps with windows open.
The warm summer nights compel this.
Autumn will come too soon,
And early cold will
Press down from the north.

But just this night,
A rumble and squeal
At once familiar but
Out of place,
Rushes south on rusty rails.

Syncopated cadence
Of hurling fire
Crashes into innocence,
Awakens all to nightmare.

Cries of “Mon Dieu! ” and
“Secours! ” echo in the dark.
Frantic figures hurry to help,
Oblivious or brave
In the face of flames.

The rail that brings
Their livelihood has
Cast the dice of downfall,
And those who lose
Are gathered in the arms
Of greedy Death.

©Charles Darnell 2013

Submitted: Sunday, July 14, 2013
Edited: Tuesday, July 16, 2013
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Poet's Notes about The Poem

Lac-Mégantic is a small town in Quebec, Canada. Earlier this month, some runaway tanker cars full of oil derail and exploded in the middle of town. Fifty lives were lost.

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