No need to refrain from poetry on trainBy Sal Pizarro
How do I love thee? Let me count the rails.
Maybe you can do better than stealing from Elizabeth Barrett Browning, right? Well, Caltrain is counting on it. The commuter rail line is holding a contest for rider-poets to express their love for Caltrain in verse.
Caltrain's got a thing for the romance of train travel. It held a "Romance on the Rails" singles event last year and decided to follow up on its success with the poetry contest. I'm not sure if it's still legal to have amorous feelings about machinery or if anyone should fess up about the "Baby Bullet" trains being aptly named, but I'm not judging here.
Unlike in love, this contest has some rules. The poem can be in any style -- free verse, haiku, limerick -- but it must touch on the theme of love and Caltrain and has to be 100 words or fewer.
So what do you get out of it, other than exposing your lust for a locomotive? The top prize is a two-night stay at the Pan Pacific Hotel in San Francisco; second place gets a dinner aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train and third place gets a Hornblower dinner cruise for two.
Entries will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Valentine's Day -- that's Feb. 14 for the Hallmark Card Resistance. Send them to Caltrain Communications, Rail Poetry Contest, 1250 San Carlos Ave., P.O. Box 3006, San Carlos, Calif. 94070-1306; by fax to (650) 508-7919 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A panel of judges will decide on the top three poems, and winners will be announced March 1.
Copyright ©2006 San Jose Mercury News. Published 01/25/2006.