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Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction

The following is a piece of writing submitted by lostcerebellum on January 21, 2008

The Little Engine That Thought It Could

“We’ve a train full of goods to go to the next town,
But the hill is so steep all the others back down.
What of you little engine? Will you be the one,
Or, like others, will you say, ‘It just can’t be done?’”

“Yes, I think I can do it,” the blue engine said,
And he started the train moving slowly ahead.
“He’s a hero,” the townspeople started to shout,
And the next thing you saw was his chest puffing out.

Well, the engine was happy to show off his might,
And the people were eager to take in the sight.
At the foot of the mountain they stood near the track
As the engine belched clouds of black smoke from his stack.

He had psyched himself up with, “I think that I can”,
But the real facts of life brought a change in his plan.
As he came near the top, and the going got tough,
His big effort collapsed with a long final puff.

It was physical laws versus strength of the will,
And the train started rolling on back down the hill.
Though he once thought, “I can”, he now wished that he could,
But the scene now before him was not looking good.

He was picking up speed, versus building up steam,
And the crew and the townspeople started to scream.
As he drew near the curve at the foot of the hill
All the screeching and screaming was getting more shrill.

Having way too much speed to remain on the rail,
Like a hundred ton bird, he just started to sail.
What goes up, we all know, in the end must come down,
And the train, when it hit, wiped out most of the town.

It’s so easy, when idling around in the yard,
To let off lots of steam, and to be a blowhard.
You can toot your own horn with a lot of hot air
But that isn’t a sign that you’ll get anywhere.

If you aren’t really made of the right kind of stuff,
Merely thinking you can isn’t nearly enough.
You should never bite off more than what you can chew,
And it’s smart not to hang out with others who do.

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