Westward from Banff or Across the Great Divide

Westward from Banff




Across the Great Divide


Blue, white and gold gleaming bright

The articulated beast sits panting

Like a great dragon at rest

The sun barely painting the mountain tops The dragon roars and rolls Twenty-two coaches heading West


West through the mountains

West through the valleys

West through pine lined passes

Burrowing, delving into the hidden halls Of some erstwhile mountain king West, ever Westward ho!


Now crawling, creeping slowly up

Now sliding, winding, rolling down

To lake shore and open plain

Hurtling headlong full speed ahead

Like the fearless young salmon

Heading inevitably toward the sea


A new dawn: the dragon’s fire burns afresh Growling, prowling, snaking along  River banks patrolled by eagle and osprey Fleet of wing, giving fleeting glimpses

Leaving minds wandering, wondering

Swirling like the white water rapids below


Pondering history, imagining pioneers

And primitive times, the rails run on

And on and ever on.

The western terminal waiting

Like the ocean calling the rivers

and the rolling dragon home.


Iain Douglas Kemp   20th August 2015 onboard the Rocky Mountaineer