The Sunday Poem: Marilyn Stablein... White Train

After stints in Berkeley, Seattle, New York, Houston, Kathmandu, and the Himalayas, Marilyn Stablein now lives in the bosque with a resident skunk, as of yesterday two porcupines in one of the twenty-three cottonwood trees outback, and bookseller husband Gary of Acequia Booksellers on 4th St. NW. Her last three books are Sleeping in Caves: A Sixties Himalayan Memoir; Night Travels to Tibet, and Climate of Extremes: Landscape and Imagination. Her assemblages, artist books, and collages have been exhibited internationally. Mixed media performances include: AutoText: Poems, Bullhorns, Streets; Sacred Waters and on Day of the Dead, Bardo Passages: Soul Journey to Tibet. (Pictured below: "Spirit Box," assemblage by Marilyn Stablein.)

White Train

A white train moves
through the night
in my country
ladened with its death cargo
of nuclear bombs.

Monks and nuns
lie down on the tracks
to block passage.
Soon they are arrested,
jailed, and the train continues.

To wish death for others,
to sell or transport bombs
and nuclear weapons
is not right. To wish
or bring death
to oneself can be
a sacrament,
a holy offering.

A white train moves
through my mind
like a white train of thought.
White dotted lines
in the middle of paved roads.

The whiteness of things:
of death, pale ghosts, and shrouds.
Ashes, white bones, pallid faces,
shells, beaches, gulls, and
veils. The whiteness of eggs,
milk, coconut, and rice.
The whiteness of candles,
fireflies, stars
in the Milky Way.

The white of a moon’s face
and beams. White birds
clouds, elephants, and moths;
angels’ halos and wings.
Mushrooms that feed
on dead matter.

Views: 125

Comment by Merimee Moffitt on July 5, 2009 at 12:51pm
ah, very wonderful/sad--I'm inspired to write a color poem, a wake up poem thank you
Comment by Barelas Babe on July 5, 2009 at 11:00pm
Such compelling and lyric imagery - Ditchrider, thank you for introducing us to yet another wonderful Albuquerque poet.
Comment by Richard V on July 6, 2009 at 11:13am
marilyn, i love the political voice in this poem, it gently confronts. and the way you portray the universality of the color white, in life and in death, is thoughtful and provoking. i'm glad you posted this....
Comment by cc on July 8, 2009 at 8:51am
So glad you posted this with one of your assemblages, Marilyn. Because the poem recalls them to me.
Thank you for standing up to the idiocy of war in this poem.
Comment by Acequia Booksellers on July 11, 2009 at 12:55pm
Many thanks for all the responses and comments. I'm both honored and humbled.
Marilyn Stablein
Comment by Margaret Randall on July 13, 2009 at 8:27am
A terrific poem, blending political sanity with images that imprint themselves on consciousness. How simple it should be to turn away from war and violence, and yet we don't... I grieve for my children and grandchildren.
Comment by Dennis Percherke on December 13, 2009 at 3:27pm
Hello, Marilyn. Keeping in touch. I am attending North Seattle College in Business, Communications and Media
and live in North Seattle. I have two nice ladyfriends-one near me, the other in Auburn. I enjoy going country
western dancing in the Greenlake area. I also belong to a Scottish club. My last job was working in a hardware
store. Saw William in the Roosevelt area some time ago. Happy Holidays.
ONe of my ladyfriends is a Leo-Carolyn G. Sad news about the other Carolyn in 2008.
Comment by Dennis Percherke on December 13, 2009 at 3:29pm
Say Marilyn, I just did a paper for class on small town newspapers in Arizona. Got a B! Dennis P.


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