I read a poem way back in elementary school in the 70's that described the observations of aliens watching cars on a highway and concluding that cars were the inhabitants of earth.

They described the "creatures" as moving on black "tapes" with white lines (highways) and having "guts" that were visible through clear panels in their fronts. (Human drivers viewed through the windshields).

The first time it was read to me as a kid, I didn't get at all that they were looking at cars and I've always wanted to go back and re-read it!

Does this strike a chord with anyone? I think the title might have had the word Highway in it...I never read the titles of anything.

  • 3
    This question actually triggered a memory; I think I read a spanish adaptation of it back on elementary too
    – Josh Part
    Feb 10, 2022 at 19:43
  • I think there was an old episode on Cartoon Network in the 90's similar to this, probably on the Canadian cartoons show they played at night at that time. Can't remember the name of the show now, but maybe it was the same show as O Canada. Feb 11, 2022 at 19:23
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    Sounds like something Ford Prefect would write :P
    – JG in SD
    Feb 11, 2022 at 22:13

1 Answer 1


Southbound on the Freeway by May Swenson

The creatures of this star are made of metal and glass.

Through the transparent parts you can see their guts.

Their feet are round and roll on diagrams of long

measuring tapes, dark with white lines.

This is just a partial quote (not the beginning, but close to it), to convince you that is probably the poem you look for. The full poem is on the link I provide.

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    I have been searching for this FOREVER - thank you!!!!! Feb 9, 2022 at 21:27
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    The ability of users on this stackexchange to identify stories this well always astounds me. How did you even find this? Feb 10, 2022 at 22:03
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    @NoseKnowsAll The OP said the word "Highway" was in the title (it si not even true, the tiltle has "Freeway" !) I think I typed Highway, poem, SF and alien in Google. This sent me to another site similar to this one (goodreads) where the question had been asked, and answered So I just picked up the answer there... ;)
    – Alfred
    Feb 11, 2022 at 6:50
  • First Southbound on the Freeway yesterday, and The Machine Stops today - we are really cranking through the sci-fi section of my 8th grade English class reader this week.
    – tbrookside
    Feb 11, 2022 at 19:37

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