A Farewell To Steam

A poem by Tom Casey (1969)
Recited by Denis Kevans

It's farewell to the old Steam Loco,
So the papers say,
Though you're still hale and hearty,
They say you've had your day.

I know how you feel, old pal,
They've done the same to me,
I can still go over a fence
Or climb an old gum tree.

I suppose we must give way to progress,
The diesels have come to stay,
perhaps we will see a few more changes,
Before we pass on our way.

I cannot let you go old pal,
Without a word of praise,
But to let you have a longer life
Your hopes I cannot raise.

I've worked with you for many years,
In sunshine, night and rain,
If I had my time all over
I would do the same again.

Maybe at times I have cursed you
And given your side a few kicks,
When your old boiler wouldn't steam
And you were up to some old tricks.

When we were climbing up heavy grades
I've heard the driver sobbing,
When I stood on the bucket and looked in the glass
For water that was just bobbing.

Oh he'd keep you going ever so slow
He knew you were a sticker,
I'd shovel more coal to help you along,
And stir your fire with the pricker.

I know now you've done your best old pal,
With a load so heavy and long,
If they only gave you the right class of coal
Your valves would have sung a song.

You've hauled the train through water,
Almost up to the firebox,
Then continued on your way,
After we gave the bars a few rocks.

Yes, I have seen you go through bushfire
Safely took us through,
When to keep standing up and breathing
Was as much as I could do.

These are deeds the Diesels
Will never be able to do,
Under these conditions
They will never replace you.

Let us go back in memory,
When things were not so bad,
So in your final retirement,
you won't be lonely and sad.

Think of the old construction days,
When you opened up our land,
Steaming along and whistling,
How you looked so grand.

Once over the top you'd rock and roll
Down the other side
At speeds (well we'll leave that part out)
You'd roll along with pride

You'd pass the horse drawn wagons,
Bullock and camel teams too,
They went into retirement for,
They couldn't keep up with you.

So here's a toast to you Old Steam Loco,
And all the good work that you did
In the words of the sentimental bloke
To you I dips me lid.

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