Walter de la Mare

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Summary of the poem "The Railway Junction" by Walter de la Mare

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The poem "The Railway Junction" begins by describing two trains headed to two different destinations: "darkening hills" and "distant seas." Next, the speaker describes the scene around the junction, including the only sound -- "A thrush sing[ing]." Oddly, there are no travelers at this time, either. The next stanza says that there had been "a throng," meaning there were recently lots of people at the junction. However, now that the trains have departed, the station agent "sit[s] alone" and is "In peace awhile." He ominously says he will be gone soon himself, but not the same direction as this list of people -- a groom, parson, widow, sailor, and gamekeeper. The agent says that those people who came to the station and left on the train will be arriving at their destinations and sleeping there, in the hills or by the seas, depending on which train they took. The speaker reflects on how little he knows about these people with whom he has crossed paths. All he knows or will remember is the way the night passes and how it's "growing late." He then repeats the first stanza about how the two trains head different directions but now ends with a question, raising doubt as to where the trains are going, or maybe, what the people who are on the trains are thinking or doing as they travel to those spots.

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