The Lion

The Lion Zeke

Stourbridge Lion Replica Wayne County Historical Society / Photo by Marlane Gohl

by Marlane Gohl

I am a student at Lackawanna College, majoring in creative and technical writing.  While I was not born here, I spent much of my childhood living near Honesdale, Pennsylvania, and consider it my home. One of the things I have always been proud of is our famous train: The Lion. I wrote this poem to celebrate both the people of Honesdale and the train, which plays an incredibly important part in our history.  

I went to the Wayne County Historical Society’s museum in Honesdale to collect the photograph that accompanies this poem. While I was there, I learned something interesting: The Lion is thought to be the first steam engine locomotive in the United States, and now sits in the Smithsonian Institute. However, this was not the only engine that was sent here from England. The other is called The America, which vanished. No one is certain what happened to it, but parts of an engine assumed to belong to The Lion were sent to the Smithsonian only to be discovered that they did not fit.

****

The Lion

She sits and huffs and puffs awaiting her engineer’s command.
Quiet like the lone deer that walks down Main Street just before an early morning sun.
Slowly people board, packages are loaded, and pleasantries exchanged.
She grudgingly moves forward, groaning, straining against her burden.
Sluggishly gaining momentum as people begin their day.

Her whistle cries out as horns blare and music plays.
A lone biker makes his way down the path.
Faster and faster she goes thundering across the landscape the rails rumbling beneath her wheels.
The crossing guard raises his hand stopping traffic as a group chatters in the crosswalk.

Traffic at a halt, jackhammer pounds pavement, shrieks heard “Fuck off asshole!”, while flippin’ a bird.
An air horn blasts and the smell of diesel fills the air.

Her brakes screech and squeal as her travels reluctantly come to an end.
As the hustle settles with the dust and people retire for the day.
Huffing and puffing she bellows out the last of her steam.
Soon again she will sit and huff and puff awaiting her engineer’s command.
Quiet like the lone deer that walks down Main Street just before an early morning sun.

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