Stranger on a Train: a poem of assonance, consonance and dissonance

The Poet of the Week for this week’s W3 Poetry Prompt #52 is the host himself, David. Here are his prompt guidelines:

The prompt guidelines

•Write a poem of at least six lines that’s heavy on consonance, assonance, or both;
Consonance: repetition of identical consonant sounds;
Assonance: repetition of similar vowel sounds.

Well, I wrote at least 6 lines as requested in the prompt. It was stopping writing that was more difficult! 

I hope you enjoy the poem.

Stranger on a Train

Stranger on a Train | Digital painting©️Lesley Scoble
Stranger on a Train

The rain goes pitter-patter
Pitter-patter, pitter-patter
On the street’s wet cobbles
An old man dodders 
and hobbles on the cobbles,
bent back,
Click clack
goes his stick
he’s slow, not quick
A young woman walks by
He sighs
Her stiletto heels go, click-clack, click-clack.
The short skirt reveals her thighs
again he sighs 
I am sitting on a steam-train 
It goes clitter-clatter, clitter-clatter
Along the rails of the railway line
I’m listening to the rhythm
Di-di-de-dum, di-di-de-dum, 
The train is breathing,
weaving plume trails of smoke from its funnel
it enters the tunnel
with a Loud whooping roar!
and hurtles like a ghost train from the past
choo-chooing through the dark
fleet and fast
to emerge in sudden bright sunlight 
I’m dazzled by the sight;
I gaze through the glinting glass and see
A mum pushing a pram through a park		
by a tree 
Children playing on the grass
Catch only a glimpse
as we pass—
go round a bend
full speed
then they’re gone
It is raining again
The rain runs down the pane
of my train
I trace the runnels  of horizontal rivulets 
In pace with the force of the wind
The raindrops race against each other
playing catch-up
I place bets and watch
They go streaming by
Crying sideways
A dreaming stranger 
Opposite my seat
Wakes up
Are we there yet?
I take a sip from my cup.
(I’m drinking tea)
I’m sorry, have we met? 
Not yet, and I offer him a sweet
How do you do, I’m Maeve,
He offers a hand, I’m Dave,
pleased to meet you, Maeve
There’s a a bit of a pause
A lull in the chat
A hush,
just the rush of the train—
the clack on the track—
the rhythm of the di-de-de-dum
and the pitter-patter of the rain
on the pane 
I wipe my glasses
(They’ve steamed up)
Then there’s a Hiatus
Until another train passes—
Screaming a long drawn-out Screech-at-us
We look out of the window—
Gosh, the rain is heavy!
He smiles at me
Fancy a bevvy?
How many more miles? 
till we get there?
Twenty  odd, I think.
I see, that’s plenty of time for a drink.
Yes, please,
Ah! The rain doth cease, is ceasing; done
And here comes the teasing, pleasing sun.
An old man gets on the train
Hello dear, nice to see you again
(Oh no! it’s the old man with the leer)
My heart sinks
(what’s he doing here!?)
The old man winks,
dodders, and
went on down the carriage,
bent back,
With his click-clack stick
Dave lunges, Kiss me quick!
And proposes marriage.
I give him a slap on the cheek.
That’s forward ‘n untoward! I impart,
He rubs his cheek, 
it’s starting to smart
I stand up to get off the train
To leave him behind, my handsome swain
I turn to wave 👋 
Dave is rubbing his cheek.
 Give me a call, we can speak
Next week
will you slap me again?
I smile, 
Alight the train.

Lesley Scoble, April 2023

Good job she got off the train!—or this assonance, consonance poem was in danger of going on forever!

The name Maeve has Irish origins. It derives from the Gaelic name Med or Meabh, which means “intoxicating,” or “she who makes men drunk with her beauty or personality”. Queen Maeve was a powerful and ambitious ruler of Connaught (Connacht, Irish spelling) who led her army in battles against Ulster.

Bevvy is British slang for an alcoholic beverage.

Thanks and gratitude for the POW’s poetry prompt. Without which, Stranger on a Train would not exist. If you don’t like the poem, it’s David the POW’s fault. Blame him. It’s all the fault of his inspiring encouragement. It was fun writing to the brief.

23 responses to “Stranger on a Train: a poem of assonance, consonance and dissonance”

  1. Brilliant, Lesley. The beginning was a fine cascade of onomatopoeiae, and the story that followed was so riveting that I stopped checking for the assonance. The old man in it reminded me of a song by ‘The Who,’ ‘A Quick One While He’s Away.’


    • There you go with the big words again, Tanmay! 😂onomatopoeia wasn’t in the prompt, was it? 😬
      I must look up the Who’s old man song! 🎶
      Marvellous that you gave up checking for assonances😁
      I’ll take the word riveting! 😊 thank you 🌹

      Liked by 1 person

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