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The Burnout Train

Ekphrastic Challenge April 2024

By Rae Fairchild (MRB)Published 23 days ago 1 min read
Top Story - May 2024
The Burnout Train
Photo by Ales Krivec on Unsplash

This poem was written in response to the Rattle® Poetry Ekphrastic Challenge for April 2024 and was ultimately not selected. You can find more information here.


The image that this poem was specifically written about can be found here. (April 2024 – Gerrie Paino's “Night Train”)



The Burnout Train

Gathered from the hands of weary boarders to that boxcar

Their “tickets” to ride

Pink slips and pay stubs, letters of resignation and journal pages

Proof of their brokenness and the exhaustion of their souls

The conductor sings

“This train don’t take your money, this train.”

The passengers in refrain - a sigh

Breathed easy for the first time in a long time

Burdens lifted, they settle to their seats, relaxing in their comfort

“This train will heal your spirits, this train.”

Once downcast eyes and faces blank, now rise and smile

To meet the hope for what this train brings:

Promised peace and a place to rest, to let everything

That once had wore them down - let it go free to the wind

Be rejuvenated and to find a purpose once again

“This train ain’t bound for glory,”

Ain’t going nowhere, ain’t doing nothing.”

This here’s the Burnout Train, this train.”


“This train holds all you nurses, this train.”

All you nurses and healthcare heroes

Oh, how you stood so steadfast

While you pulled us through that dark and death

“This train holds all you nurses, this train.”


“This train carries you teachers, this train.”

All you teachers and educators

Those children you’ve instructed

They’re all brats and their parents know it

“This train carries you teachers, this train.”


“This train pulls all you workers, this train.”

You unappreciated workers

Unseen efforts that you do

When you work three jobs to keep bills paid

“This train pulls all you workers, this train.”


“This train’s for all you burnouts, this train.

This train’s for all you burnouts, this train.

This train’s for all you burnouts,

Come ride when you can’t give no more.

This train’s for all you burnouts, this train.”


“Halle-Hallelujah-ah…this train.”


Submitted under MRB

Free Versesocial commentaryEkphrastic

About the Creator

Rae Fairchild (MRB)

I love to write; putting pen to paper fills my heart and calms my soul!

Rae Fairchild is my pen name. (Because why not? Pseudonyms are cool!)

I do publish elsewhere under my real name, Mary Rae Butler. (Fairchild, an old family surname.)

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Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insight

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

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Comments (11)

  • BrettNotGreg15 days ago

    Love this! Fantastic imagery here!

  • Rulam Day18 days ago

    Congrats on top story! Well deserved🤠!

  • Anu Mehjabin18 days ago

    The imagery and rhythm create a poignant, resonant message. Keep writing and sharing your voice!💝💝

  • Andrea Corwin 19 days ago

    and congratulations on TS!!🥳

  • Andrea Corwin 19 days ago

    We all could ride this every now and then. Well done!!❣️

  • Fantastic writing.

  • Sounds like a sort of gospel verse atfirst🥰 very good 🌟

  • D.K. Shepard22 days ago

    Great poem! Love the call to teachers…I’d climb aboard! Congrats on Top Story!

  • shanmuga priya22 days ago

    Congratulations 🎉

  • Congrats on your top story.

  • Rulam Day23 days ago

    I love it! I am one of those riders on the train😊!

Rae Fairchild (MRB)Written by Rae Fairchild (MRB)

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