02/12/2020
Blanton, Oklahoma

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.

Editor’s Note: After years of research I found that Blanton Junction or Blanton, Oklahoma was named after William Blair Blanton (born 1854 Farmville Virginia and died April 28, 1917 Alameda, California) who worked as assistant to the Vice President and General Manager of the Denver, Enid & Gulf Railroad in 1905. The junction sign was put up in 1912, and still existed in the late 1990s when my friends and I hung out in what is now Oakwood Nature Park, but what we named Strawberry Fields. He worked for many different railroads before and after his time near Enid, including the Sierra Railway in Jamestown California and the Northwestern Pacific in San Francisco California. He was married to Margaret Eugenia in 1876, and was the son of William David Blanton and Rebecca Frances Lee of Cumberland County Virginia. In an ironic twist I found out I am a distant relation.

No ratings yet.

Please rate this post

D.L. Lang served as Poet Laureate of Vallejo, California (2017-2019). She is the author of twelve books, and one spoken word album. Her poems have been published in the Benicia Herald, Jewish Journal, Poets Are Heroes Magazine, ReformJudaism.org, 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, the Vallejo Women’s March, Families Belong Together, and International Peace Day. She is also a regular at Poetry by the Bay and lead 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.

View all posts by →
%d bloggers like this: