Oklahoma Poems,  Poems from the book Dragonfly Tomorrows & Dog-eared Yesterdays

Blanton-Kiowa Line

Blanton-Kiowa Line

From Blanton up to Kiowa ran the Santa Fe,
her whistles lay silent to this very day.
It all started in 1902 by the DE&G,
stretching across the land just as far as you could see.

Passing through the towns that dotted the Great Plains,
she carried many a man and grain,
transporting stories of love and pain,
even running up those Great Salt Plains.

For ninety odd years, her tracks, they sang
as the street crossing bells, so sweetly they rang,
where the Rock Island line once met the Santa Fe,
greeting passengers as they went on their way.

Bought up by K&E back in 1997,
this line ceased to be—gone to train track heaven.
Old maps and books alone now speak of her station.
Her tool house leaves no trace of its foundation.

Her bridges have now fallen into the river.
No more freight shall she deliver.
The line still vivisects the landscape—
a scarred reminder of past escapes.

The land is divided by a barrier of green—
a line of trees that once shielded folks from the heat
slices through squares of red dirt, hay, and wheat.
In this land that once tilled itself to dust,
only a few tracks remain, just left to rust.

Now no one remembers ole W.B. Blanton,
nor the big white sign for his namesake junction.
He worked the rails from the south to the west,
once touted in the papers as one of the best.

So when you’re out walking that Northern Exposure Trail,
just remember the story of these mighty rails.
If they could only talk, the stories they’d surely tell
of the Blanton-Kiowa line that once ran so swell.

D.L. Lang is the current Poet Laureate of Vallejo, California. She is the author of ten books, and one spoken word album. Her poems have been published in the Benicia Herald, Jewish Journal, Poets Are Heroes Magazine, the Benicia First Tuesday Poets anthology Light & Shadow, and in A Poet’s Siddur: Friday Evening Liturgy through the Eyes of Poets. Lang has been a featured act at several events including the Vallejo Man March, Unity Day, Solidarity with Charlottesville, and International Peace Day. She is also a regular at Poetry by the Bay and leads the Poetry in Notion poetry circle. She has won ribbons and rosettes at the Alameda, Marin, San Mateo, and Solano County Fairs. Her poems have been transformed into songs, liturgy, and used as a means to advocate for causes.

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