I was promised inspiration, here
cab car rocking in the middle of the night,
thin white birch trees flashing by in the darkness.
We rumble down the tracks, endlessly,
We stop in still towns, full of dachas, surrounded
by dark, forbidden woods.
Inspiration I've expected, since the first night I awoke,
peering like a child at the trees and stars reeling by.
Now I can't count how many times I've ridden the Trans-Siberian Railroad;
How many times I've felt the string of cars settle to a stop,
sitting outside brightly colored train station after the next;
How many times I've waited in the same stations,
laughed with sarcastic conductors and attendants;
Fumbled for my passport at the train platform;
Told stories in a two-person compartment-- to one, to four,
to ten people, huddled in;
How many times I've made my own bed, rolled out old mattresses,
thick, deep, dense pillows, wondering how to sleep;
How many times I've looked straight up into the night,
to see the stars, holding still, anchored, ordained to their stations,
stiller, stiller than the road or the train or I could ever be.