Tuesday, September 18, 2018

DMC: "Branch Line" by Tabatha Yeatts

Branch Line

How do we make something new?

How do we take that hand, still as a rock, pick up
those heavy, heavy fingers and push ourselves,
force our way through all that protective bone,
move past the little shocks of neurons trying to
ride their carts down their usual tracks?

So tempting to pull our hands back, let those
familiar travellers roll unimpeded along the line,
arriving on schedule. But today, here you are,
rushing before those clattery wheels,
laying fresh tracks the second before they dart past,
keeping them from falling into oblivion below.

They spin, you go on, pounding down one
after another, dropping them out
of your fingertips, you frenzied engineer,
and, lo, a new destination.

© 2018 Tabatha Yeatts. All rights reserved.

Click HERE to read this month's interview with Naomi Shihab Nye. Her DMC challenge is to write a letter to yourself in which you ask some questions that you don't have to answer. (Please keep in mind that your poem does not need to be in standard letter form.)

Post your poem on our September 2018 padlet. While some contributions will be featured as daily ditties this month, all contributions will be included in a wrap-up presentation on Friday, September 28th, and one lucky participant will win a personalized copy of her latest collection of poetry from Greenwillow Books:


  1. I love the metaphor of the train, Tabatha, that 'frenzied engineer' following new tracks. Pushing the brain to aid the travel is hard work, but the ending rewards, right?

  2. I just love this poem, Tabatha! How many times have I felt like that frenzied engineer, hoping those fresh tracks don't fall into oblivion? I've attempted a number of poems for this challenge, with varying degrees of success, but one of the more successful ones I now realize was probably inspired by yours!

  3. Tabatha, sometimes my engineer stops immobilized in its tracks. I now see that's the time to change tracks, lay new ones, and explore fresh new places. May I print out your poem as a reminder?
    Thanks for the inspiration.


  4. Thank you, Linda, Michelle, and Cory (and Naomi)! Looking forward to reading your poem, Michelle. Cory, I would be honored if you used my poem as a reminder :-)

  5. It's a constant struggle to keep those "familiar travellers" from pushing the new aside. Great poem!

  6. Fun and always a timely question Tabatha, love how you close your poem,
    " you frenzied engineer,
    and, lo, a new destination."

    1. I agree--those are great lines, Michelle! Nicely done, Tabatha!

  7. Yup....I swear sometimes I look at my hands and think they are rocks. Howd'ya know that, Tabatha? I do love how moving and creating those fresh tracks takes us to a new destination. Nicely done on this.

  8. Wonderful metaphor and wonderful poem to inspire us all. Thanks.

  9. Such a freak metaphor for the difficulties of changing. It's sometimes easier to follow the ruts than to lay new tacks like your frenzied engineer, but so worth it.