The Girl on the Train: A Poem by Sardonicus *

26 August 2016

Introduced by LD: I happened to mention in a recent email to ‘Sardonicus’—who writes to me occasionally on the subject of poetry—that we were about to publish a short poem by Gilbert Huntly called “The Girl on the Train.” (Now published  here). This interested Sardonicus. He wrote back to say he had himself written a poem with the same title, and that it had been published over 20 years ago in some little poetry magazine, now defunct. He offered to show it to me. So here it is, as an appendix to Gilbert Huntly’s romantic poem.

You will now be able to compare these two poems with their identical titles and common theme: a man meeting a beautiful girl on a train, a total stranger, and how he is smitten by her.

Sardonicus’s poem, you will note, is written in an entirely different style from Gilbert Huntly’s poem. Gilbert has assumed the persona of a 19th century Romantic and writes in traditional rhyme and metre to his ladylove, whereas Sardonicus writes in modern free verse and has assumed the persona of a—well, let’s just say, a rather “shady character”.

Sardonicus’s poem gives me the creeps. The word for it is “dark”. Sardonicus comes across as a weirdo—or rather his persona does.

I wouldn’t like to be a girl sitting opposite this guy in a train.

Teenage Girl Reading on Train


by Sardonicus

Golden girl on the train
I hope you’ve forgiven me
now that you know
I had good reason
to do what I did to you.

I’d hate you to think
I lacked motivation.
I did it because
you were irresistible,
and asking for it!

I did it because
of the blind rage
whipped up in me by
the wind and the rain
and the lonesome rooms

and the golden girls
with their beautiful eyes
in the ruined cities of summer;
like you, sweetheart,
on that train long ago.

I want you to know
only one thing now,
you who sleep so soundly
under the turf of Dartmoor
where the wind howls:
I tried my best
to walk in wisdom.

I tried my best
to do no wrong.
But I failed.

Accept these lilies,
my long-lost darling,
left on your grave
to mark my sorrow.


27 thoughts to “The Girl on the Train: A Poem by Sardonicus *”

  1. Ugh, you show yourself in a poor light here, Sardonicus!



    Don’t come near me!

    I ain’t sittin’ on any train opposite you!

    1. Unless it’s a “persona” and not you.

      I mean, you sound like a nice guy in your comments.

      But this poem gives me the heebie-jeebies. It’s sick. It’s morbid. It’s not nice.

      You need a long rest in a secure institute.

    2. Yea, the closest simile I can conjure, is a bloody stool-unwanted, ugly, and a sign of malfunction and pathology. Yech. Colon-ize it.

  2. Come! Come! MB I am sure it’s just a persona. Remember Sardonicus is a Latin scholar. I imagine him as a latter day Mr. Chips. May I suggest you watch the film “Goodbye Mr. Chips” starring Peter O’Toole as Mr Chips and Petula Clarke as the lady of lighter virtue. I saw it about 45 years ago.

    1. I like this poem by Sardonicus. It has an undercurrent of misogyny running thru it, a refreshing change of pace from mainstream poetry which is ALL about, ONLY about, ALL about, how women are “Goddesses” and “Sacred” and pure of heart and so smart and so full of love, unconditional love of course, and how much so-called intuition they have, innate “female intuition”, and how that innate female intuition means they’re “Goddesses” ; In the meantime, in real life, most women you come across are sullen, rude, many are downright inane, and have a sense of entitlement as if they deserve to be treated like Royalty, and they have a chip on their shoulders a mile high, and are extremely selfish, and not TOO inspiring to be around them.

      Gilbert is TOO “white-knightish”, totally pussy-whipped.

  3. MB: the point you need to keep in focus is that the train girl under the turf in Dartmoor is a persona.
    And something just twigged me onto the fact that like Harbinger, he’d been backstabbed by the one he trusted.
    So allow him a bit of poetic venting.

    Hey, add our Wiggins to the 6 million betrayed, just remembered.
    Is it Darkmoon site a repository for the walking wounded or are they par for the course, most keeping it to themselves?
    Is the Black Pigeon’s insight correct?

    Sard is alright, Madame Butterfly, you have my personal assurance, the said guarantee null and void if you push your luck and leave a chewing gum on his train seat.
    Next stop, Dartmoor!

    1. @ Lobro

      “Is the Black Pigeon’s insight correct?”

      Of course, the Black Pigeon is correct! Nothing can be the male’s fault. Males have a penis. 🙂 Seriously, I could only make it through a few minutes of the Pigeon. His over use of the word (((tribe))) told me all I needed to know about the source of his viewpoint.

      “Is it Darkmoon site a repository for the walking wounded or are they par for the course, most keeping it to themselves?”

      A person that has never been in battle, never gets wounded. Those that have been wounded do not like to talk about it because it is acknowledgment of defeat in battle. The problem is that most have had so much smoke blown up their posterior about how men and women are “supposed” to be that they walk into a battle unaware that there is really no war.

      One foundation of the smoke is that opposites attract when in reality likes attract. Opposites will do battle almost on a continuous basis which is not how beneficial relationships survive even though we are led to believe that conflict is normal. Since likes attract in reality, if a person has problems with the people that are attracted to them, their only successful remedy is to change themselves. We only have the right to change the minds of ourselves, not others. Everyone gets to make up their own minds, free will, even in relationships.

      Consequently, the first step to stopping future failed relationships is to find a mirror and look at the problem dead in the eye. If a person does not like the traits of the person they see in the mirror, change the person in the mirror. If a person likes the traits of the person they see in the mirror, be happy with others that have similar traits. Compatibility works. It is so simple that it is easy to overlook.

      I speak from experience. I have been wounded more than once. I have wounded more than once. I found a mirror and changed what I saw when I realized that I had betrayed myself. 36 years later, still successfully getting along with my wife and she with me so I’m not sure if I should be counted with the 6 million betrayed or not.

  4. There was a woman once
    we all thought we knew
    She was very classy and beautiful too
    Everyone thought she was America’s cat’s pajamas
    especially compared to all the other ones who were always so dowdy
    Then The Plane, it landed in Dallas
    at an Airport called LOVE FIELD, that name is just Marvelous, isn’t it!
    The rest of IT has been a Mystery ever since
    Frame 314, really looks like she did Him in
    at least the last shot so Important
    We don’t know, though,
    the film has been so tinkered and distorted with
    but still, In Blazing Pink Unmistakingly Her!
    she stepped off The Plane Unto LOVE FIeld
    and the rest of IT has been a Mystery Ever Since.

    1. excellent, TROJ is a superb poet, say whatever else you will.

      so, the Pink Lady had the last laugh, her beau ended up sucking turf somewhere half way between Arlington and Dartmoor, maybe the Chinese scrap metal barge took him for the sea burial.

      i would never share the train compartment with the Pink Lady.
      because i never travel 1st class, don’t know much ’bout Brecht, can’t do any poetry,
      i could wrack my brains all day and never figure out how to mesh “price if 1st class” with “piece of ass” although on intuitive level I see an intriguing connection.
      maybe i’ll nominate myself for the Coudenhove-Kalergi Order of Merit instead, better chances than in any poetry contest.

      1. I’d like to read some of your poetry. If you’ve written any. I’m sure it would be good for a giggle. 🙂

  5. Sardonicus
    your poem is very good ,it expresses your linguistic abilities ,poetry is an art
    in my book Lasha’s poetry is par to none

  6. A very pretty girl sitting contemplatively in a serene setting. The stuff male dreams are made of – or were before the LGBT movement, piercings and tattoos. A tattoo on a woman is like graffiti on the Mona Lisa.

    How I do so love women, the physical manifestation of the beloved’s perfection. A delight to the eye and a challenge to the mind, that is the essence of woman.

    How many times have I “stepped off the plane” at Love field? I got lost going there on my first cross county night flight and was inexpressibly happy to feel the cool tarmac under my feet that night. But then I’ve stepped off many planes at many airports. I even wrote a short story titled Islands in Between of my island experiences. The title just came naturally.

    So long ago, so far away. It’s all a blur now, those hours of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror. Just a dream of what seems someone else’s life.

  7. In basketball, a player is penalized for an illegal dribble that occurs when a player dribbles with both hands simultaneously or interrupts a dribble by holding the ball briefly in one or both hands. This is called “Double Dribble”.

    I wish there were a “penalty” or restriction on “Double Drivel”, or “Infinite Dribble”. There seems to be much of it here. Too much chatter, clatter, smatter, which doesn’t matter, stale batter. Twaddle.

  8. Nothing inspires a poet — wannabe, would-be, and/or verifiable — than a girl on a train. Thus inspired, upon recall, I write the following, unpolished contribution.

    Girl on a Night Train — A True Poem

    I too once — and only once — visited with a girl on a train one night.
    Our HS Civics class took a trip to New York City, to and fro in one day.
    At our start in the grand train station in D.C., I viewed her from afar.
    Her head unclothed, pale white, translucent skin revealed veins
    As aquamarine tracings from her temples, a road map to her lips.
    I see her still, more than half a century later, upturned nose, even teeth.
    I had fancied her too long to remain silent on our return together.

    During the night of passage, I ventured to speak first,
    Draped like one of Dali’s clocks over a seatback.
    We spoke of Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind”.
    I decried its senselessness, she disagreed, poetically.
    She seemed to welcome my company.
    I kneeled more erect against the seatback.

    To my latent horror and discomfort, a pain then arose in my abdomen.
    Eventually, overcome, I retreated to embryonic posture, guts ballooning.
    I later staggered to the back of the train car in which we rode.
    I never spoke again to my specially chosen girl on the night train.

    My parents met me at the station, my returning safely from the caverns
    Of Wall Street, the heights of the Empire State building, the noise and dirt.
    I passed gas halfway home to our sheltered suburb, and felt much better.


    1. Excellent poem, Alan. I like the understated eroticism. The nostalgia for a long ago encounter on train with a strange girl. Do you really retain vivid images in your mind about that “brief encounter” 50 years ago? Or are you just fantasizing about something that never took place?

      1. Come on, MB. 😉 What do you think?!

        I would rewrite my opening thusly: Nothing inspires a poet — wannabe, would-be, and/or verifiably — than a girl on a train. Thus inspired, upon recall, I write the following, unpolished contribution.

        HUNT: The “strange” girl, true to your intuition, was, notwithstandingly, a multi-year classmate of mine, in high school Civics and other “advanced” classes for the soon-to-be dumbed-down students of the modern US, Inc., educational system. For the life of me now, I cannot remember her name! She traversed halls of the school in the company of young before-hip hipsters (Blowin’ in the Wind, soon to give way to the electric Highway 66), including a boy (man?) who, in hindsight (so to write), manifested a gaiety, and a lot of facial pimples (that I too recall vividly, grateful at the time I had not had to use so many tubes of Clearsil), a person beyond my ability to characterize, or categorize, at the time.

        The Church of Roamin’ Catholickness breeds an innocence setting up as prey its young adherents as, no doubt, do other “paths of liberation” delivered upon birth or later in life. One might ask, in all friendliness, Zen Gardner, whom I support for the duration of his “outing”, his trashing, by supposedly “awaken ones”. Cast the first stone. Judge. Or judge not.

        I entertained outings with the HOOM, est, and other “cults” (Scientology [about 3 minutes], a gaggle of Hare Krishnas [about one hour]). Stone me, as Mr. (“Bob Dylan”) Zimmerman once sang, well after “Blowin’ in the Wind”, a time when Paul Simon and Leonard Cohen may have assisted this dear boy along his trajectory to fame and fortune. Now free forever, the girl on the night train forever gone in adolescent dreams dissipated, I still judge “Blowin’ in the [email protected]” senseless and nonsensical.

        In closing this bleeding vein of past remembrances, I do recall the name of another girl, classmate in The Nativity Catholic School in D.C. Patricia. She also had those veins evident upon her face, to which, or because of which, I became enamored! All my loves from that era, circa puberty, became sweetly sad and unrequited. I could go on. I shall not! Suffice it to say, I have a wife of 25+ years, with whom I dwell happily, creating Utopia as best we can in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, in the state of Californication. 🙂

        More poems in the offing!


  9. I think this is far more interesting, even fascinating, uplifting, gorgeous, powerful, and sensuous, and spiritual than Sarcoughadust’s poem:

    Keep in mind that I am but a mere vulgarian, and really landed in he Occident in this reincarnation by mistake. The next will be in the Orient.

    This is a zen exercise. First, prepare to empty you mind of useless thoughts and the temporal. Ignore, “tune out” the noise around you. Concentrate on the visual and sound of the venue. Realize, as the theme in The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, that this is Natural, build by Man, sprung from his mind and archetypes. A machine comes to life, a mechanical animal, whose heart beats, breathes, and expresses itself as a power willing obey, work, complete.

    Now this exercise is a mental sharpening skill. Most people are subjected to the same sounds (and sights, and thoughts, and feelings) day in day out, and do not think to much about it. Here’s a challenge: different sounds in all different ways. Unfamiliar. How will you respond? Will you allow your brain its freedom to process without preconception? How many distinctly different sounds, pitches, tones, and other subtleties can you pick out?

    This one is pure delight: From stone cold dead to throbbing, breathing, thumping, screaming, beast.

    Bruckner, Dvorak, Johann Strauss, Glinka, Berlioz, Disney, and more were enthusiast train appreciators. I always loved the cadence, rhythm, and complexity of notes coming off trains, both diesel and steam.

    Rolls Royce Griffin Engine:

    Sweet sound!:

    Mechanical Dragon:

    And now we will resume your normal programming.

    1. Oops. There is a duplicate in the links.

      Man and machine. A couple of generations ago, boys used to love tinkering with mechanical things, making them work, creating something that extended their lives. We produced engineers and technicians that made the West dominant.

      From these activities, we produced many inventors, as well.

  10. Now that I am closer to being an old woman than a young woman, I notice beautiful young women, too. I guess when I was a young woman I was paying attention to young men, or was caught up in my existential crisis, or maybe I was sensing the eerie presence of the predators who later would come out of the shadows. What a relief it is to see the young women like a field of spring flowers. What they are wearing is fashion at its best because everything looks better on young, beautiful women. So I relate to that tendency to look too long and hard at innocence and beauty when one has been corrupted and damaged. (I don’t mean to project onto Sardonicus what isn’t there; I’m writing impressionistically)

    1. Kapoore, you are special.
      As far as i can tell, genuine nobility requires these 3 ingredients: humility, courage and compassion.
      And you have them in abundance.

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