Each of these poems is based on the theme of trains travelling across the landscape to their destination.
The time and setting of a poem is very important to the reader. Each of these poems was written in a different century and country.
Night Mail was written by a man, in the 1940s, set in England. In Night Mail, the train is travelling from England to all around Scotland in the middle of the night. The train is delivering letters to Scotland.
The Train's author is a woman, and the poem is set in Wild West America during the 1800s. The train in Dickinson's poem would have been an 'Iron Horse' train, a very large American train, which carries coal and cargo across the west.
The length of the poems differs. Night Mail is very lengthily and is in keeping with the fact that its journey was very long and tedious.
The first thing that most people notice about a poem is its rhythm and rhyme. Night Mail has a fast and regular rhythm, and is written in rhyming couplets. The Train uses a fast but irregular rhythm, and consecutive rhyming is used in each stanza. Each poem has a fast rhythm. This helps us to imagine the speeding train quickly racing across the railway lines.
"And stop to feed itself at tanks".
Dickinson writes as if she is in amazement with the train. She makes it sound like the train is totally independent and can do everything itself without any human interference.
Auden, however, does not become so amazed when describing the night train, but still talks of its determination of travelling to its destination.
"Sheep dogs cannot turn her course".
Auden also suggests reliability.
"The gradient's against her but she's on time" From the previous passage...