This Poem was Submitted By: Mark D. Kilburn On Date: 2003-08-02 11:14:19 . . . Click Here To Mail this Poem to a Friend!

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Another time hardened men would beg for dinner, trading hours and maybe a chore or two. Then down the road with a little luck a bottle; I wonder what those  bums and hoboes knew. They followed dreams or ran away from nightmares, braving storms and brutal rail yard guards. To work for food and sleep  in some cold boxcar,  this laborious life of rambling  made the hobo hard. I watched them camp between the two great rivers, shaggy men eating out of a small tin can. Just where they went no one has ever told me, itís hard to get to know  that type of man. Say can you see the hobo ghosts come dancing, with the wind  waltzing down lifeís railroad track. Women or men have  never slowed the hobo but old man time  just broke the hoboís back. Letís watch them dance then dream ourselves a freight train and not one sadist bull  for a hundred happy miles, just empty cars with every door wide open and one-hundred-thousand ghostly hobo smiles. Memories and ghosts are all thatís left of the handsome hobo, all are gone and never coming back, let the lazy wind  blow and waltz them on forever,  they paid their dues on  that lonely railroad track.

Copyright © August 2003 Mark D. Kilburn

This Poem was Critiqued By: Brandon Gene Petit On Date: 2003-09-04 13:38:09
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 8.37838
A unique and rather moving poem ..... a sad story of the bleak reality of homeless people, told with elegance and subtle sadness rather than harsh and brutal cynicism. The reference to the hobos' ghosts is an interesting touch, honoring the loss of nameless men to an inimicable industrial world. Insightful with honest sentiment. - Brandon

This Poem was Critiqued By: Thomas H. Smihula On Date: 2003-08-27 09:32:02
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 8.94872
My type of poetry making the reader think. You state it well in the first stanza what did they know? Much more than people gave them credit for. What have they seen in life? Much more than many of us. This is what I get in the beginning. In the second stanza you have substantiated the first with giving us detail as to what they have endured. I like how not only you have brought their life into the picture but the elements they encounter on their trip. Yes the hobo's life was hard but in away they were still running away from the encounter in life that put them here. We still have hobos but they now live in a different society so the style of the old hobo is only in our thoughts. I like this part especially because it does show the past. I almost feel as if you have created two poems with this the first being the life of a Hobo and the second the dance of the Hobo carefree, no wories anymore. Just a thought. Like your structuring since you kept it consistant. Like the story wish that you had brought this also into the present with the difference today between the homeless and that of the Hobo but that is only this readers opinion. You did give me the concept that the only judgement that should be given is that of the Hobo upon himself. Thanks for sharing. Enjoyed your walk through time. Tom
This Poem was Critiqued By: Irene E Fraley On Date: 2003-08-16 20:38:51
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 8.90909
What an evocotive poem this is. I grew up hearing stories from my father and grandmother about the hobo's who would come to the house looking for a bit of work to be paid for with a good meal, and maybe a night spent in the barn. Those were hard times, and the hobos, though homeless and poor, were for the most part men of integrity and always worked for the food or monies they sought. This poem describes the Hobo as my family portrayed him and shows respect for the men they were. The poem moves from description of the hobo to the passing of the hobo and then past death to an imagined better world for them. I found the sense of freedom well encapsulated in the final three stanza's. The image (leit motif?)of the ghosts and dancing serves to pull this poem together and give its subject a certain unusual beauty. Wonderful imagery! Thank you for the compassionate trip to the past, Mark.
This Poem was Critiqued By: George L White On Date: 2003-08-14 09:34:53
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 8.00000
Hi Mark, A song of lament for another, this ďhobo justiceĒ Who knows what they knew? Your right. They are so hard to get to know. Especially as I drive by. Ďno time to say good by hello Ií late Iím late Iím lateÖ "Letís watch them dance then dream ourselves a freight train and not one sadist bull for a hundred happy miles, just empty cars with every door wide open and one-hundred-thousand ghostly hobo smiles." This part is wonderful. I slowed here to catch the image, which was enough to take heart in the hear-after for the hobo and for myself. I am not quite sure where you were going with the last. I hope I didn't butcher it up too much. What I took from it was; the hobo has paid a high price just for being who he was. At least now, he desnít have the price of being different, like an animal in a zoo pays his price, so that we may gawk and say ďOh, isnít that somethingÖĒ Thank you for the reminder of the hobo in me and at times I pay a high price for staying in my self created cage. Blessings, George
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