From a Railway Carriage

Poetic Beats

Welcome to this week’s Poetic Beats with Howard Bond and Davy D, recorded on the 21st May 2018 on Red Kite Radio.

Today’s poem, From a Railway Carriage, written by Robert Louis Stevenson, is a poem many readers may remember from their schooldays. The poem is written in a form and style evoking the feeling of being onboard a moving train. Robert Louis Stevenson was more famously known for his literary classics, Treasure Island, Kidnapped and the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, but wrote many poems. From a Railway Carriage appeared in his collection of children’s poetry titled, A Children’s Garden of Verse, published in 1885.

If you have difficulty listening to the show, a text version of the poem is included after the soundbar.

To hear this recording of Poetic Beats press the arrow to the left of the soundbar below.



From a Railway Carriage


Faster than fairies, faster than witches,

Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;

And charging along like troops in a battle,

All through the meadows the horses and cattle:

All of the sights of the hill and the plain

Fly as thick as driving rain;

And ever again, in the wink of an eye,

Painted stations whistle by.


Here is a child who clambers and scrambles,

All by himself and gathering brambles;

Here is a tramp who stands and gazes;

And there is the green for stringing the daisies!

Here is a cart run away in the road

Lumping along with man and load;

And here is a mill and there is a river:

Each a glimpse and gone for ever!


Robert Louis Stevenson



Thank you so much for sharing this poem, Davy. I woke up early this morning and so as I had my morning cup of coffee and went through my email I clicked on poetic beats. What a treat!!! Listening to you read this wonderful poem by RL Stevenson made me feel as if I were in the dining car of a train, clicking and clanking as I drank my “cuppa Jo”. Ah what memories this poem conjures up. I could hear and feel the train with every line you read.

This happens to be a poem I read aloud many times to my young students in class, especially early in my career. It was such a delight to hear you read it this morning. Not only did it bring back train imagery, but sweet memories of the author. I actually put down my coffee for a bit and went to my children’s literature section on my book case to grab my copy of Treasure Island. It is a book I have had from my childhood, with a copyright date of 1948, since my mother bought it for my older brother. How wonderful to hold it in my hands again and feel the soft leather cover as I gently removed it and touched the well loved pages. I recall my brother, sister, and I snuggled together at bedtime as our mom read a few chapters each night. We went to sleep dreaming of pirate adventures.

The teacher in me also remembered the wonderful illustrations by NC Wyeth. I took several children’s Literature classes in college and began collecting books with my favorite children’s artist. NC Wyeth, the illustrator of Treasure Island, being one of them. After college I was fortunate enough to see an entire exhibit of Wyeth’s art from all of his children’s books. The paintings were huge, which at first took me by surprise, because I had only seen them before in books, and yet they were originally drawn poster size. But, as I stood in front of the giant paintings with the images of Long John Silver and Jim Hawkins, it was as if they had literally jumped out of the book and stood besides me. My childhood come to life! His artwork was so incredible in its full glory, and finally displayed as it should have been. It’s funny how most people will recall books and their authors, but I not only remember the books, I know all the artists who brought their characters to life. I have collected art from children’s literature since college, but NC Wyeth was the only illustrator whose original work I was able to see in person. (And yes he is the father of artist Andrew Wyeth.) All these memories from your train poem from Robert Louis Stevenson!!! Thank you, Davy!

As usual your poetry “lessons” have me not only enjoying the poem and your readings, but bring me back with an emotional connection to something in my past. Literature and poetry from classic writers of old is indeed a powerful tool.
And by the way, I could totally picture you dressed as Long John Silver while reading the poem. LOL Thanks for sharing!

Liked by 3 people

    I did the same Lesley! grabbed my old copy of Treasure island and realised i was gifted it way back in 1980! I had a lovely morning reminiscing my school days with Davy’s poem and your comment here. you must surely have been one of those animated teachers that made lessons such fun!

    Liked by 2 people

      Thank you so much Singledust. And yes, I was very animated and still am with my grandchildren. I loved teaching, can you tell? 🤗 Davy has a way of picking the best poems to show off his themes in the most vivid ways. I’m always draw in.

      Liked by 2 people

      I can tell from your writing just how passionate you are Lesley. Your grandchildren must enjoy their visits with you and look forward to what’s next! Yes Davy has this wonderful ability to come up with really good poems and background to share. It makes my learning journey really fun too. I am very inspired by your enthusiasm!

      Liked by 2 people

    Lesley, thank you so much for your kind words and comments and I am so pleased that this edition of Poetic Beats brought back so many happy memories for you.

    This was a poem that brought back a lot of childhood memories for me and it is good to see such a wonderful and evocative poem had a reach worldwide, not just here in the UK.

    Robert Louis Stevenson has an interesting life, even though it was cut short too early and I think I might be revisiting some of his classic novels again.

    Have a great weekend and thank you again for your time and support.

    Liked by 1 person

      Yes, it’s very special to realize how Stevenson, and many other of our favorite authors, received worldwide recognition and appeal. One of the great things about social media sites is seeing the similar connections we all have no matter where we come from. And I find joy in knowing that good writing is good writing no matter where or when it took place. 👍🤗

      Liked by 1 person

      Yes, his works are wonderful to read. And though best known for his books his poetry is so great too!

      Liked by 1 person

    Wow Lesley! Loved your response! Davy seems to have a way to spark the words aflowin’! How delightful to read “how wonderful to hold it in my hands again and feel the soft leather cover as I gently removed it and touched the well loved pages.” I’m going to be waiting for you write a post on “The Rest Of The Story”. More please?? Hmmm, Davy as Long John Silver? I like it! It’s always best to have paper and pen close by when reading things written by Davy!!

    Liked by 2 people

    Lesley, just read Davy’s comment about you putting lessons online and think that would be amazing for you to give that old time love and attention for the classic children’s to a new generation! Who knows what little heart you may inspire to perhaps love books and want to teach!! Your relating how your Mom read to your brother and sister reminded me of how my Mom read to us from the books of Thorton W. Burgess – Mother West Wind and the whole series of books he wrote. Sad, how that special time of bonding just before bedtime has been lost to so many in the last couple of generations! Thanks for giving me that walk down memory lane with you and Davy!

    Liked by 2 people

Surprisingly, I am not familiar with this poem, Davy. Thank you for sharing this enjoyable piece. It’s truly a treat.

Liked by 1 person

Thanks for sharing Davy! Listening was a pleasant way to pass time while waiting at Dr’s office for a yearly appt. Interesting & entertaining facts about author/poet. Have a wonderful weekend.😀

Liked by 1 person

love how you got into character for the reading Davy, I enjoyed the teachers who did this for us, brought the lesson to life as you have done with this poem. such a nostalgic poem for me, yes we read this in school though at that time had never really seen any pictures to represent what we were reading. Years later when I saw images of the English countryside the daisies and coal trains became a firm representation of England and the Famous Five children on their adventures. the rhythm of this poem encourages reading out loud especially for the shy child. allows for some dramatic presentation styles while hiding behind the verse. thank you for the additional information, I always like that part of your poetic beats. sleeping bag and wooden teeth – amazing!

Liked by 2 people

    Thank you Gina for your kind words and comments. It is interesting to hear that you had this as a school poem and its reach seems to have been worldwide. I loved the Famous Five books as a child and there is now a series of spoof books which are funny. The Famous Five Go Gluten Free is an example. One of the things I enjoy about Poetic Beats is the research that throws up entertaining and interesting facts about the poets. It provides a good learning curve for me. Thank you again for your lovely comments.

    Liked by 2 people

      My pleasure to listen to the show and learn so much from you Davy. That title of the new Famous Five just cracked me up, times and kids pursuits have changed so much since I was a child and I have to move with the times. Though my kids like it when I do my “when I was a kid” story time! It was really the teachers who brought us these poems, i was fortunate that i studied in a missionary convent and was exposed to a lot of English literature and authors. school syllabus wasn’t very streamlined then so it would really be your good fortune to have a teacher that enjoyed the classics and wanted to share them. It would be just as easy to get simpler poems to read like nursery rhymes! I admire that you take the time to research them Davy, and notice that you take great effort to put together a really enjoyable segment each time, even your host sounds like he is listening to something new and impressed with the knowledge sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

      It must have been a wonderful experience having teachers like that Gina. Your passion for English literature comes out in your writing. Thank you again for your kind comments.

      Liked by 1 person

Singledust you totally hit the mark with your comment. Yes the rhythm is perfect. I am so glad you had such an innovative teacher to motivate you with this poem. Davy does that with all of us!
I used to break up the children into groups and we did it as a choral reading. One year I found a sale at “Party City” on train hats and red scarves and I purchased them for my students. They were so cute. They wore the hats and read the poem and we had a sound affects group in the background making train sounds too. The children loved it. But the best was I had a train whistle and blew it at the and shouted “ All Aboard!” When they lined up to go to lunch. They wore their conductor hats and red scarves into the cafeteria for and kept them on all day. Like you, I bet they never forget this poem!

Liked by 2 people

    You need to put some of these lessons online Lesley. I am sure there is an audience worldwide who would love to learn poetry in the way you teach it.

    Liked by 2 people

      Thank you Davy. That’s a great idea. I actually wrote a grant called “All Aboard” after doing this class project and received money to fund the supplies needed. I tied State history and American history into it to broaden its uses. I included train poems but the grant’s practical use could also be adapted historically going back to the first continental railroad and Flagler’s Florida railroad. Teachers received money from the Broward Education Foundation for adapting the grant. Included in my presentation at a local college was a PowerPoint video of the children reciting this poem in their train garb. It’s out there somewhere on line. Now that I’m retired I no longer have access to the school board’s private websites where teachers go and can still use my plans and my grant. But, when I wrote the elementary poetry curriculum for the Jason Taylor Foundation’s bluapple Poetry network, I included lessons of all types including some with trains. So it is out there. I gladly gave my work over so the schools could use the lessons. I suppose I could have written a book but It was never about money just enriching children. Plus in a drawer at home I have all my original grants that I wrote so I have everything should I need to find them.

      Liked by 2 people

      I think it may be worth putting something together Lesley as there is not much guidance on blogs only prompts. I think the way you put things across may help people when writing.

      Liked by 1 person

      Thanks Davy. I just might do that. 👍

      Liked by 2 people

One of my all-time favourites, Davy. I re. remember just how much much children love this, so cleverly capturing the train’s rhythm in the poetry. Thanks for the reminder.

Liked by 1 person

    A pleasure Roland and glad you enjoyed it. It is one of those poems you can read over and over and not get bored with it. Thanks for taking time out to listen and comment.


Wonderful poem by Stevenson, thank you Davy. I hadn’t heard this before but am totally with him emotionally and rhythmically. The things he sees as the train passes – faster and faster – , describing the English countryside so beautifully.
I took a short film with my phone once and sent it to friends who never seen England. They were so delighted that it made my day.

I have read Stevensons novels, most countries have them. Wonderful stories.

Liked by 1 person

    Thank you for your kind words and thoughts Miriam and I am glad you enjoyed the poetry and the show. There is something magical about being on a train and watching the countryside flash by. This poem captures the whole feeling and emotion.

    Liked by 1 person

HA! I love how you dressed up for Poetic Beats AND Howard’s response to you! I can’t stop laughing! 😀
Arrrgh!!! 😀
I love Stevenson’s writing! Thank you for sharing this poem, Davy! 🙂
HUGS!!! 🙂
PS…I’m back to blogging after 6 days of a very full house of family!!! 😉 😀

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