Orphan Train Poems
Found Poetry
Mr. Karwoski's 11th grade English Class

 After reading about the history of the Orphan Train and discussing the various personal stories people have written about, our English 11 class read several poems written by and about the Orphan Train riders. Using a found poetry technique, the students were asked to create their own poems using the words already written in the Orphan Train poetry. This enables them to create their own poem on a specific topic by mixing and matching phrases already used in the original text. The rules are as follows:  
  • The poem must be between 8 and 12 lines long
  • You may use any phrase you want from any Orphan Train poem we have read in class 
  • You may omit words from phrases and change singular to plural or vice-versa
  •  You may NOT add any words or phrases of your own, the sentiment of the poem must reflect the Orphan Train experience.

Mr. Karwoski

Where are we going?
I climb the train
Leaving behind all I know.
Crying as we leave,
Tomorrow is unknown.
New mamas and papas,
New little girl and boy;
I can't leave my family.
I have to get a new mom and dad.
My heart is breaking,
My pain not eased.
Longing, hoping,
I am but a faint memory.
I am forgotten and lost.
Never will my pain die.
- Jen L.

This busy place
With all its rush and noise
We are going to a place beyond
                          Your knowing
With blowing whistle and a jerk
The train leaves all I know
The train pulls away
 Tomorrow's unknown makes
                           Fitful sleep
 Who am I?
 Of whom did I spring?
It hurts never knowing.
 - Mary M.

what place
with rush and noise
are we going?
 i have a choice
 where we are going
 to beyond your knowing
 now don't
 climb up now
 the train
 on in out
 - Rich R.

you broke our bonding tie
did i hurt you?
 let me know.
 i did not do you wrong.
 i belong!
never forget,
 everything i do,
 uncounted ways,
 never knowing you.
 - Michelle S.

Where is it we are going?
The train leaves
With gathering speed.
 All I know is torn away.
Swaying cars, clacking noise,
Sensing loss,
Start to grieve,
Could you not bear my infant's cry?
 Did I hurt you?
 As we pull into station
 We make them choose us.
Just who am I?
 - Mark K.