Train Bridge

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Train Bridge by John Climenhage, 2001-2005 oil on panel 6"x8"
Train Bridge by John Climenhage, 2001-2005 oil on panel 6″x8″

The Iron Horse Arrives in Peterborough by Tom Mohr »

Train Bridge

“Altogether, Peterborough possesses all the elements of an important manufacturing town. The  immense water power supplied by the Otonabee River, and the large timber districts in the rear of the town, offer facilities for manufacturing such as are possessed by few communities in the Province. With the railway facilities now possessed by the town, the easy method of ingress and egress; with the improvements which are going on in the interior country; the rapid settlement  of that hitherto unsurveyed and almost unexplored country;  and the improvements lately made in the navigations of the back waters, - the prospects of the town are flattering in the extreme”. 

- T&R White, “1858 Directory of the United Counties of Peterborough & Victoria for 1858”

a vital block of track
a rusted petard
the local kids explode off

without a red fleck of understanding
of the facility 
with which brand old white power
used to mow and grow

this now entirely explored

The rails here barely
run, and the loggers cut down
any amount of clarity 
in the backwaters,

now the precedent 
keeps the lifeguards at Rogers Cove
deciding daily
how much E-coli the leaping kids can take
before shutting the water down. 

The canal, tho, mercifully
moves at a decent clip,

the poison moves away,
or used to, 
before real estate

the kids throw themselves off 
different things,
less liquid landings,
in the face of the history
of the gods their parents used to be.

There’s just no justice 
for all this horseshit anymore. 

Don’t kid yourself.

The cannonballs falling off the bridges now
grow up aware of the rust on the bridge,

the new monster 
the awareness

that there’s a new lifelong monster 
dying at peace
in a righteous sleep
every minute,

the reflection off the water,
looking down for the dive,

for the kids,

in the extreme―


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© John Climenhage 2020

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