Riding by Night

The great-wheeled, twi-domed engine waits
Expectant, for the signal to depart;
The fireman opens wide the furnace door
And bares the fire's red heart;

Then the conductor's lantern lifts and falls,
And, down the car-thronged yards the coaches glide,
And, leaping like a runner to the race,
We gain the countryside.

Out at the window into night I peer
While the bright coaches hurtle through the gloom
Like some swift meteor with a shining tail
Which rushes to its doom.

A thousand darkling fields and woods sweep past;
Infrequent blurs of light go trailing by,
And here and there a single farmhouse shows
A pale and single eye.
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