Friday, May 2, 2008


Todd, NC

Elkland, once a boom town of Watauga County,
where the railroad from Abingdon ended
to drop off passengers and load timber.
The giant engines spun on a turntable
to head back the other way.

Hotels, stores, banks, and taxi service
sprung up like mushrooms in a narrow valley,
shared by the South Fork of the New River.
Loggers and saw mills made their truck ready
to be hauled back the other way.

With the forests stripped of their hardwoods,
the Virginia-Carolina came less frequently
until, nothing to haul and no one to bring,
like locusts they swarmed to other prospects,
to make their living in other ways.

The railroad gone, the tracks were taken up,
its steel sold cheaply to the Japanese,
just like New York’s Sixth Avenue El,
scrap metal turned to weapons of warfare
used against our own Pacific Fleet
to send our boys to a watery grave.


Kevin Reeves said...

Great job. I have spent many years of my early life in Todd. My family were early settlers in Elkland and owned stores there during the boom years. My grandmother still lives in Todd, on our family farm.

David Wayne Hampton: said...

Thank you for the comment, and for following my blog! I found the history of Todd fascinating when I was a student at ASU. It's hard to imagine as quiet as it is now that once a railroad line ended there. I'll probably go back to blogging and posting poems in a couple of months.