The Night Express, Kenneth Slessor, 1933
Out of the night, immense and shrill
It comes with cloudy fire
To curse a girl at Bogan's Hill
With torments of desire.
A string of golden window-lights,
A rope of flame - they're gone.
Over the windy mountain-heights,
The night express flies on.
Drowned in the silent loneliness,
The lantern's ruby dies.
A girl looks at the night express
With bright and wistful eyes.
The night-express, with panther grace,
On reaching Bogan's Hill,
Shows its opinion of the place
By going faster still.
O, to be on the night express
O, to be there some day.
Miles to go with a port-mant-eau
And a ticket for far away!
The Pullman cars are full of light,
And lurching corridors,
And swagmen huddled out of sight,
And cigarettes and snores,
The atmosphere you find on trains,
And fat men playing cards,
And tumbling jugs and rattling panes
And honeymoons and guards.
The engine roars, the whistle cries,
The echoes follow shrill,
A girl sits on her berth, and sighs,
And stares at Bogan's Hill.
Pulling the window blind, she sees
A moment into space -
A shed, a flash of moonlit trees,
Some milk tins and a face.
And, O, to be in Bogan's Hill,
O, to be there some day,
Cows and peace - release, release,
And the night-express far away!
I couldn't find this poem, which is one of my favourites, on the web anywhere, so here it is.
Somewhere out there must be the equivalent poem for our times, with a girl looking up at a contrail and another looking down at a farm nestled in the bush.