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The Rail Ties That Bind

Richard Lamoureux Avatar Richard Lamoureux - LIFETIME Premium Member Richard Lamoureux - Premium MemberPremium Member Send Soup Mail  Block poet from commenting on your poetry

Below is the poem entitled The Rail Ties That Bind which was written by poet Richard Lamoureux. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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The Rail Ties That Bind

A little girl
She comes to a land of ghosts
Almost empty streets
She wonders
Where are all the people
No one here looks like her
Within her heart
Emotions stir

It is so cold
Foreign 
Lonely
Where oh where, is the mountain of gold
Her mom and dad they are so bold
Pioneers
Adventures
People of action
Not of words

Hong Kong 
Left behind
A new future to find
They endured the sad
A world not kind

Their crowded apartment
A benevolent uncle stole
To leave the country they paid a toll
Plane tickets in her fathers hand
Brought his family to a new land
The little girl did not understand

The language she knew
Was Chinese
She spoke it with such ease
She thought, she must throw it away
The bits of her culture slowly stripped day by day

Forced to grow up, with blinding speed
She looks after, siblings needs
No time for her
She couldn't play
Duty and honour
The Chinese way

Mom and dad, working night and day
They do so much, for little pay
Food on the table
Their sacrifice
A warm home 
Within a land of ice

Through the years
A life is built
Yet the little girl, she is filled with guilt
She knows, there's been a sacrifice
Beneath the surface, of all that's nice

Many, many, years ago
Her grandfather was here
Away from her dad, for many years
Cooking for men, who worked the rail line
A small comfort when they would dine

Disposable humans
They took the risk
The horrors so many
To long too list
They needed their families
So far away
Yet the politicians, turned them away

The abuse he suffered
With all his friends
It seems now the Government 
wants to make amends
The past and future, are combined
You can't move forward
Without looking behind

The little girl, now grown up
For the past, she gives her thanks
Dreams from ties
She rides their rails
Blood and sweat 
from hammering nails
She hears echoes, from the past
It seems their gifts, were forged to last



My wife went to a forum where the government 
apologized for the awful things that were done
to the Chinese people who came to work in
Canada. So many Chinese men left their homes
in search of a better life for their families. They
were forced into slave like labour to build our
cross country railway. Many of them lost their 
lives in the process. They were not allowed to
bring their families. When the earlier generations 
came they were charged a head tax to move to Canada.
This discrimination was exclusive to Asian people.
This is a sad chapter in our Canadian History.













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  1. Date: 2/17/2014 8:14:00 AM
    It is good that you have written this to enlighten those who did not know and for those who did to refresh their memory..Maybe by knowing history won't repeat itself...Thanks for the visit to congratulate ...Sara

    Lamoureux Avatar Richard Lamoureux
    Date: 2/17/2014 9:17:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    My pleasure Sara
  1. Date: 1/24/2014 7:43:00 AM
    This is a sad story, but your wife has obviously emerged from a haunting painful past to become a beautiful caring woman.

    Lamoureux Avatar Richard Lamoureux
    Date: 1/24/2014 8:15:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    She certainly has, thanks Monterey.
  1. Date: 1/17/2014 8:20:00 AM
    i was just in hongkong this christmas and i feel the angst of this write, rich... tremendous description of a sad plight.. wonderful!.. huggs

    Lamoureux Avatar Richard Lamoureux
    Date: 1/17/2014 8:42:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    I have never been, and my wife seems to have no desire to go back. Huggs to you as well Nette.
  1. Date: 1/17/2014 3:21:00 AM
    One of my fondest pastimes is watching the railway run through town. The rail line seems to sing a distant Candace screaming out a buried anger, unsure how to articulate all it's seen... So like a call to war it screams, it's beat in constant rhythm Echo's all it cannot speak. Telling my it's stories from places deeper that words. I will never forget this poem now as I watch the night train rushing by. Simply beautiful!

    Romani Avatar Sarai Romani
    Date: 1/19/2014 6:02:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Hi Richard, just wanted to invite you and your lovely bride to check out my recent post called Night Train. Think you would enjoy it. Hugs
    Lamoureux Avatar Richard Lamoureux
    Date: 1/17/2014 8:00:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Your comment is a beautiful poem, it has touched me. Thanks so much. I will share this with my wife who is the little girl.
  1. Date: 1/17/2014 1:56:00 AM
    A very sad story, Richard. My Indian history is so full of similar heart-ache...History has not been fair at all, has it? so many wars, and other violence.. Though i suppose its all quite different now; more people are waking up to love and peace...You wrote about tolerance recently, and no this. Its truly beautiful to see the kind of stuff that you choose to write about. well done, as always:)

    Vijayan Avatar Bindu Vijayan
    Date: 1/19/2014 9:27:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Thank you, Richard:) it must be our open-armed hospitality and just sheer simplicity in existence:) hugs.
    Lamoureux Avatar Richard Lamoureux
    Date: 1/17/2014 7:58:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    In my country I still see the mask of peace and listen to people telling jokes filled with preducices. We have come a long way but we have so much further to travel. I don't know what it is but for some reason I have always felt a familiar comfort in the presence of Indian people. It saddens me when people are treated with sometimes subtle disdain.
  1. Date: 1/16/2014 11:38:00 PM
    You are one of my favorite poets. Your substance is gripping and your talent is humbly displayed in each verse you put forth. I love this piece. I'm adding it to my favorites. Thank you for sharing

    Lamoureux Avatar Richard Lamoureux
    Date: 1/17/2014 7:51:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Wow, juli-Michelle what a thoughtful comment. You have just made my day. Hugs Rick.
  1. Date: 1/16/2014 10:40:00 PM
    Very well written and informative poem. Thanks for sharing.

    Lamoureux Avatar Richard Lamoureux
    Date: 1/16/2014 11:10:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Thanks Jon
  1. Date: 1/16/2014 9:39:00 PM
    You ended it on a great note. I really liked that last line. You know, it happened almost the same in the US. the chinese built the raliways going east. I think it was mostly the Irish that were put on the tracks going west. Poor people that suffered here along with the native americans and the blacks.

    Lamoureux Avatar Richard Lamoureux
    Date: 1/16/2014 11:11:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    It is sad how humans treat each other. Thanks for commenting.
  1. Date: 1/16/2014 6:35:00 PM
    A very good poem Richard, Something similar to this story happened in the US too. It's nice to see someone write about history....Roger

    Lamoureux Avatar Richard Lamoureux
    Date: 1/16/2014 6:48:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Thanks Roger I am pleased you enjoyed it.
  1. Date: 1/16/2014 6:46:00 AM
    Hats off to you my friend for such a Bold and touching write. In almost all developed countries the story is same Richard. Words of Freedom and equality shines only on the books politicians, but when it comes to reality the story is different. But never mind the voices which come from the depths of heart soul always create a magical change. Keep writing such touching words you would see the impact soon. Sorry that I returned from my son's place today only. Love & best wishes.. .Ravindra K Kapoor

    Lamoureux Avatar Richard Lamoureux
    Date: 1/16/2014 7:51:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Thank you for this thoughtful comment, have a most excellent day Ravindra.
  1. Date: 1/15/2014 10:25:00 PM
    Richard...I visited this wonderful and moving write yesterday. I left a post, but I don't see it anywhere. Richard....this is such a sad write about the reality of your wife's family's experience in Canada. So so sad....It is always the foreigners who get ill treated. I can't possibly recapture all I shared with you in my last post. Perhaps it is for the best. I do want to tell you that your writing shines through here. Your voice helps to right the injustice...even years on down the line.

    Lamoureux Avatar Richard Lamoureux
    Date: 1/16/2014 12:47:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Thanks, bed time, we'll chat tomorrow.
  1. Date: 1/15/2014 4:47:00 PM
    I am utterly speechless. What a story. What a sad surprise for the Chinese people. A "head tax", damn... =/ I deeply applaud you for this.

    Lamoureux Avatar Richard Lamoureux
    Date: 1/15/2014 5:58:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    It was $500 per person which was a fortune back then.
  1. Date: 1/15/2014 3:38:00 PM
    I believe every country has a sad chapter in their history..To acknowledge the wrong decisions taken take lots of guts..These sad chapters happeen even in Europe and unfortunately even on my little isle.We say racism is over but I still see only coloured people doing certain jobs on the isle..and We say we are catholic..We say we are neutral. We say we worship freedom and human rights..That's my isle I' m talking about.This poem is going to my favs..Touched my heart and soul..

    Lamoureux Avatar Richard Lamoureux
    Date: 1/15/2014 3:44:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Hi Charmaine as always your visit brings such joy. Thanks for adding to your favorites.
    Chircop Avatar Charmaine Chircop
    Date: 1/15/2014 3:39:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Btw...tnks for your support on my last post..fixed it a bit ..: )
  1. Date: 1/15/2014 3:01:00 PM
    This is so sad and yet it contains a lesson for everyone. If only the government had passed up sacrificing humans for a rail way! We should indeed never take our loved ones for granted, time and unforseen occurence... I feel for all those like this little girl lost in a land so new to her

    Lamoureux Avatar Richard Lamoureux
    Date: 1/15/2014 3:43:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    So nice to have you visit me. Thanks for the thoughtful comment.
  1. Date: 1/15/2014 1:17:00 PM
    Very informative and well shared Richard it is such a crying shame that they were treated like, this,unlike today's government, not much has changed, only over heads, thank you for sharing this xxxe

    Lamoureux Avatar Richard Lamoureux
    Date: 1/15/2014 2:16:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Thanks for reading. My wife moved to Canada in 1967 and compared to Hongkong the streets were so quiet in Vancouver she thought it felt like a Ghost Town.