Northbound train

We are many called for, seeking north. I see an elderly couple waiting; they have mountains in their eyes. We are leaving Stockholm at the break of spring to seek the winter still clinging to the north. As always the train is late, but we all know it doesn’t really matter. The train will move us through the night, and tomorrow we will know if we will arrive in time or not.

There is a scent of steel, as weighty wheels screech to a halt. With a final rush we find our compartments, as if the city’s pulse wants to make a last impression before we settle in, but already as we leave the platform, the familiar calmness wind us in. We are cradled by the rails, we are lulled to rest, and when we briefly wake at night, it does not really matter where we are. We are somewhere waiting between the icicles and snow, and the willow catkins.

We arrive at winter, and the sky is clear. Since it’s past the equinox of spring, we still have many hours left till dark. We decide to leave for the first cabin, you are as eager as I am to meet the mountains’ breath.

even the snow –
clinging to birches
longs to melt


Today we have a guest blogger at dVerse Haibun Monday, and she prompts us to write a compact haibun considering one of your own journeys, or even a travel experience you have read about.

February 29, 2016

31 responses to “Northbound train

  1. I specially love: We are cradled by the rails, we are lulled to rest, and when we briefly wake at night, it does not really matter where we are.

    I admire the scent and breath of winter near the mountains ~ Love the longing to melt haiku ~

  2. Stunning descriptions with such a beautiful haiku. Made me think of an overnight train trip I took from the French Alps (Lons-le-Saulnier) into the Pyrenees, arriving there at dawn with the sun.

  3. Congrats on a stirring write thats seems to be real. Your forays into prose improve daily; terrific sense of place; strong imagery & flow. I like the line /There is a scent of steel, as weighty wheels screech to a halt/.

  4. This trip while real, has a hint of unreality to it…reminds me of the movie Snowpiercer….wonderful visuals and sensory descriptions. Riding north to the scent of winter is a place I would enjoy travelling.

  5. I love this journey by train, the waking in the middle of the night and it doesn’t matter where you are. Riding a train is such an other-worldly experience, so a different adventure than going by car. Peace, Linda

  6. I love the sense of comfort offered by the train (that sounds more like a soothing vacation spot). And your haiku, the way it speaks of the yearning for spring… just wonderful.

  7. I loved “they have mountains in their eyes” and could sense the somewhat subdued excitement of waiting for the late train and knowing that they would get there when they got there. 🙂 Also, was a little amused that they were traveling to winter rather than trying to escape it like so many do. Great haiku to wrap it up too, Bjorn.

  8. I’ve never traveled far or overnight by train…your haibun makes me want to! I understand the longing to see mountains…beautiful in winter.

  9. This is so beautiful! I can’t pick out a favorite line as it ALL goes together. Truly a favorite of mine – this seems to really suit your style… I gave it a go and glad I didn’t read anyone’s first as my prose paragraph would have never been attempted!

  10. There were several phrases that jumped out of the prose and grabbed me: ‘They have mountains in their eyes’ and ‘There is a scent of steel’. Beautiful, Bjorn!

  11. You had me at train, Bjorn! A big Railfan as well. Your description os riding through the night is surely a journey worth taking. What an excellent piece this is!

  12. Even though I hate the cold, you took me with you and had me enjoy it!

  13. love, love love this. I could smell the steel and feel the vibration of the rails and only wish I had traveled overnight…I must experience this traveling across Canada on rail. Beautiful haibun, Björn!

  14. This is a wonderful haibun – beautifully drawn. The prose piece is actually very close to a prose poem, I thought: wonderful images, set down in bits of meter – or at least, a definite rhythm – that imparts a very real sense of train travel. The haiku is lovely and layered and gives one pause to stop and let it all settle in for a bit, before moving on.

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