Saturday, September 13, 2008


The train stopped at a little station
and for a moment stood absolutely still.
The doors slammed, gravel crunched underfoot,
someone said goodbye forever,

a glove dropped, the sun dimmed,
the doors slammed again, even louder,
and the iron train set off slowly
and vanished in the fog like the nineteenth century.

Iron Train
by Adam Zagajewski
translated by Clare Cavanagh

I have a thing for beautiful old passenger trains. You know the ones
I'm talking about; majestic, chugging massive pillars of smoke as they
depart the station, richly upholstered seats and classy dining cars.
David Lean loved to include marvelous train scenes in his films such
as Brief Encounter, Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago and A
Passage to India, to name a few. Whenever I see a grand old train in
a movie, I am thrilled and make sure everyone else in the room takes
note. To hop aboard one of these beauties and set off for a long and
lazy romantic journey would be absolute heaven. It's a shame that
public transportation isn't what it once was in this country, at least
here in the Midwest.

And, speaking of trains, my daughter just sent me this picture, taken
as she waited for a train in Germany last week. The public transit
system is so convenient in Europe. Isn't this architecture in Dresden
stunning? She took this with her cell phone from a sidewalk cafe.
What a view! Sigh.


  1. Spencer is standing here behind me wanting the computer and was so excited to see that train! Maybe it's in the genes! Yes, those old trains are so wonderful. I'd love to hop on the Orient Express for a leisurely vacation! Taylor was just in Dresden in July. Gorgeous pic of that beauty, too!

  2. Don't get me started on steam trains Willow! I'm holding back as best I can. Perhaps a hint...nostalgia,the CPR.
    Now why don't we have train stations like that here in Canada?
    I love your blog Willow & can't wait to stop by, and I'm sipping my Mukka as I write this!
    The poem is enchanting and one could start a book with that line;
    'The doors slammed, gravel crunched underfoot,someone said goodbye forever'

  3. I've always loved trains, too. If I ever had a chance to travel on one, I'd wear some kind of 40's style dress and a hat.

    Your daughter is gorgeous.

  4. Hello Willow !

    Ton manoir a plein de surprise...

    Pretty girl on the photo !

    Greta shot for the train...

  5. I love old trains and train songs. Pappy

  6. holy cow girl!--what a lovely daughter.

    and that train--that's a photo??! i can almost hear it.

    i once took the train from california to upstate new york, at the end of the year. champagne and playing cards in the clubcar, looking out the windows at the snow-covered world: you woulda loved it.

  7. Your daughter is gorgeous!!!!! And to be waiting for a train in Dresden is an utterly romantic thing to be doing. I'm green with envy.

    I just finished a UK mini series called A Jewel in the Crown. It has numerous scenes set at Indian train mysterious and romantic. Check for it on Netflix. I think it would be your style. I really enjoyed it.

  8. Maurita, yes! The wardrobe must be romantic, too! Essential.

    Lotus, I am totally green with envy.

    Thanks, Stevie...I'm adding it to my Netflix queue right now! Sounds like it's right up my alley. :)

  9. Gorgrous pictures of the train (love the light), your pretty daughter and the stunning city of Dresden. Nice post Willow

  10. What a view is right!

    What a beautiful girl, that is! ;)

    Add The Train, w/Burt Lancaster, and Closely Watched Trains to your queue of films to see.

  11. loved the poem, Willow - the pics all hooked in to that romantic theme - your daughter is stunning

  12. Thanks, Phil, I'm adding those to my queue. I also love Laconte's "Man on the Train".

    Can you believe it's that same little girl holding the cat I posted a few weeks ago? Where does the time go?!

  13. Too funny! I did the black box thingy on another blog and it took me to you!! We really must have a lot in common!

  14. TOO funny!! We were destined to be bloggies! :D

  15. I love old trains as well, they are such a part of the fabric of stories that I love and the time periods that many of these stories are set in. It saddens me to see this mode of transportation dying away...I get very nostalgic about stuff like that.

    And I had to laugh at the caption of your picture of your daughter...I doubt anyone would be paying attention to the beauty of the architecture behind her, lol!

  16. The black box brought me here, so I thought I'd say hi. Very interesting post.

  17. Both the architecture and your daughter are stunning.

    Love the gingko header too!

  18. Came here from the black box. Your daughter is incredibly lovely. What nice photography. Think I'll stay for awhile.

  19. Hello willowy lady and thanks for dropping by my blog via the black box... Your blog seems so busy and artistically inclined, making for a very interesting visit and your daughter looks like Miss MidWest 2008! Beautiful like her mama.

  20. I found through a little black box on Daryl's Out & About in New York City blog. I, too, love old steam engine trains.

  21. In response to the lovely compliment of your visit, I popped in on your Profile. Such rich and delicious depth of romantic and meaning-filled karma is attached to all of the named focuses of your preference and attention. Nothing of the superfluous or superficial seems to have any hold on you. How delightfully refreshing - stimulating - enchanting!

    I now know a new place of pleasant diversion and respite from the mundanities of the Ordinary. Thank you!

    Admiringly ...

  22. Haha! The Black Box brought me here.

  23. HeHe the little black box just sent me over my friend!

  24. I came over here to deposite a little "t" to dilute out the "e". But heck....I like trains, so I'll save the "t" for another time. Thanks for dropping by my post.

  25. Another blackboxer here. My son studied in Dresden, BTW.

  26. Holy Moly! Your daughter is just gorgeous! I loved Dresden... I miss Germany! I actually went to the University of Mannheim. My German is much better than my French!

  27. Hi Willow,
    what a very pretty daughter you have!

    I would love to travel on The Orient Express, I heard that in the past passengers slept in the carriages whilst they were lifted on board the ship that crossed the channel en route from London to Paris.

    I live on the same road as an old fashioned train station, sadly it has seen better days, it once had it's own station master who attended the station garden between trains, very Mrs Miniver. Now it is unmanned and vandalized.

  28. Thanks for popping by and leaving a comment.

    Loved the poem and all David Lean films too.

    What a beautiful daughter you have.

  29. Great post and photos. I enjoyed this a lot.

    Your train post stirred up a lot of interest. I also love the old narrow gauge trains.

    One of my favorites is the:
    Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad through the San Juan Mountains in Colorado.

    Once, Martha and I and the kids rode the train half-way to Silverton. The Engineer stopped and dropped us off. We then backpacked for 5 days up over 10,000 ft. and then back to the tracks. We flagged the train down and rode the baggage car back to Durango.

    It was a great trip.

    Troy and Martha

  30. I am very behind with blog-reading. Yours is a top favourite of mine, one to savour and save for Sundays perhaps as it is such a treat.
    (Your daughter is very beautiful too)

  31. I enjoyed the poem. You know, this is a good-looking corner of the web. Very relaxing.

  32. Willow - love the new header or banner I guess it's called!

  33. When I was in undergrad school, there was the "gas shortage" that forced me to take trains back and forth from NJ to VA where I went to school. I loved them--I would get my own "berth," and I'd read whole books and just rest and watch the world go by. If you went to the restaurant car, it was a different world again--it was a pleasant way to travel to me... steam trains are fascinating--I've ridden on them through the Smoky Mts--and they're a wonderful adventure. Great photo of your daughter!

  34. Came here via the black box! Beautiful photos!!!

  35. I just arrived here randomly, courtesy of that Black Box thing.

    I spotted the steam train, which is on a preserved railway in the U.K. The number means its from the London, Midland and Scottish Railway and is called Leander based upon a 1934 design. Pretty impressive it still works!

    Best rashbre

  36. lovely post - got here by the black box!

  37. Gorgeous... the poem, the train, the building, and your daughter!

  38. Well, well, well, first things first.

    The poem is a beauty. The image of the dropped glove is a painting in itself.

    Your daughter managed the impossible. Take a good picture on a cellphone. I have always been a staunch critic of gadgets that are too multi-faceted because they can't get one function right, be it iPods or phones. But your daughter proved me wrong.

    The train photo is lovely to watch and it makes a great combo with the poem, so thumbs up for image-text composition.

    Great post.

    Greetings from London.

  39. two more great train films: The Journey of Natty Gann, and The Station Agent.

    got here through the black box decide widget!

  40. I echo that, The Station Agent is fantastic!

  41. What a lovely way to travel...I have this thing about dining cars...

    Your daughter is so beautiful and having the European backdrop in that photo is amazing...

  42. Okay, "The Station Agent" is on my Netflix queue. Phil mentioned it some time back and now more suggestions. Gotta see it!

  43. Oh my, what a classic beautiful young woman, your daughter is!

  44. lovely picture. Yes, Dr. Zhivago's scenes train scenes are indelllibly stuck in my mind.

    Now, my train rides from London to Norfolk are not that great actually.

  45. Ah the glorious days of train travel,your own carriage with pale blue velvet upholstery. Another carriage for your servants and chef...chugging along on the Orient express or to St.Petersburg.
    Or Anna Karenina throwing herself in front of a steam belching monster, ditto 'Red Shoes'.
    By the way, Mrs.Brown you have a lovely daughter...
    The old heart of Dresden as well as Luther's chuch, has been restored and the famous Zwinger (Art Gallery) housing one of the three greatest collections of Duerer prints is a gem.
    The Intercity trains though may be fast, but not a patch on steam.

  46. My goodness, your daughter is gorgeous. I got all distracted here. The trains I wish I could go on (Orient Express--all the way from Venice to Istanbul--and the 20th Century Limited) only live in my imagination, sadly. Trains are just so cool.

    Although there is that little "toy" train in the Himalayas, the Darjeeling HImalaya, that I would love to go on somday...if I am brave enough.

  47. Wow! Your daughter is a beauty. I thought it was a photo of an actress. Lucky her to be in Europe.


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)