Some miles south of the town where we live,
Through old burghs and new suburbs plain,
An assortment of family and choicest of friends,
Drove doggedly onward through rain.

The day was chosen far in advance
To attend each one would oblige,
And despite some car trouble on the way out of town,
My own gang managed t’arrive.

We walked towards the building named Angus,
Not sure what it offered in gains,
Just dropping in on acquaintances ancient,
T’was our day to go visit the trains.

A group of steel hangars comprised the museum,
It was built on an old railroad side,
On the grounds some rusty hulks ‘waited renewal,
The good stuff was surely inside.

Sheltered in barns from cold Autumn drizzle,
The image I seized on, of course,
Was a gentle equestrian farm o’retirement,
Where they stabled the great iron-horse.

We walked along those still machines
Each one carried off to such times,
When arrival back home from a long, lonely trip,
Was announced by an engine bell’s chimes.

The passenger wagons did stir my nostalgia,
With their scent of old wicker and grease,
Canadian soldiers would ride off to Europe,
With their task to turn war into peace.

A line of old streetcars from Montreal-town,
Made me think of Grand-père Latrémoille
For to work his old job – the conductor’s position,
Would bring to me nothing but joy.

A warm Summer evening by an open tram window,
Was great for those seated inside,
I seem to remember myself in that setting,
Once ‘pon an old streetcar ride.

I sat in the cab of a mighty steam engine,
And imagined down lines which it hurled,
With a hand on the throttle and a wave to some kids,
What a great way to take in the world!

These great locomotives told stories of power,
Into memory each of us did delve,
For myself it was orange-fronted boxcab electrics
From the year nineteen-hundred and twelve.

Through Mount Royal tunnel with its creosote smell,
The commuters would ride up and down,
And though not the most famous or elegant trains,
They went to my Grandmother’s town.

As the visit adjourned and we talked about dinner,
Walking back to the cars which we drove,
I think we all wished we could ride a train wagon,
That was warmed by a cast-iron stove.

Oct 24 1873 was Arthur L.’s birthday – Bonne Anniversaire grandpapa.







observation car

observation car


12 Comments on “THE IRON HORSE OLD FOLKS HOME by Vincent Dow*”

  1. zz dans le meteo says:

    Warm …. cool !

  2. GCT™ says:

    As i Told Vinnie in an email, this oeuvre is reminiscent of a non mawkish mcgonnagall. look out WH Drummond!

  3. antiquate says:

    …… for me, i sat in the schoolroom wagon
    with boards of slate and small desks of pine
    where i’d ABC and 123
    but i was gone long gone to the end of the line…

  4. GCT™ says:

    the first snap actually appears to have been taken in daylight.
    how well i remember the streetcars.
    when grandma hogg died in 1955. i was told she had gone to heaven.
    i asked if she had taken the streetcar.
    we didn’t have a car in those days
    and we always took the streetcar to gradma hogg’s place at 3637 the boulevard.
    seeing them streetcars the other days triggered something that might be called vestigial-
    i just calls it memry.
    yr pal

  5. vin says:

    I must give credit to Kathleen Weldon for going over my po-em and adding polish where needed. I wish that museum had better lighting too. Maybe they’d let me re-rig the whole thing!
    If only to be riding the eighty foot, steel body, pullman car… Which smashes distances down with its weight and ferocious force, never sensed from inside. Just even rythymn. Comfy chair.

  6. lookingattrainsdifferentlynow says:

    please mis-
    ter conductor
    don’t put me
    offa this train.
    the best friend
    i have in this
    world sir…

    everly bros from songs our daddy taught us

  7. ‘Many a good man has lost his life
    By tryin’ to make lost time
    But if you run you engine right
    You’ll get there just on time”

    carter family (as engine 143)
    aka the brave engineer
    aka the fate of george alllen
    aka FFV

  8. zz dans le meteo says:

    One thing I remember most clearly about the streetcars is the taste the wicker on the seats. Just a glipse ofthat picture and poem brings it all back homey.

  9. Shiv-of-the-sands says:

    I think I can I think I can… oh Vini! Miss you with every dusty breath… miss the poets, miss the minstrels, miss you all!

  10. Campbie says:

    That goes deux fois gras from this end of the planet

  11. marc lafleche says:

    le grand-pere Latremouille que vous parler dans votre texte est-il originaire de la region d’Embrun en Ontario. Si c’est le cas j’aimerai que vous me le confimerier.

    • gardencourt says:

      Oui. Né en 1873 fils de Georges (?) L. et Cordelia Primeau il était le descendant du patriarche Denis Latrémouille.

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