The Song of the Railway Train

by Gertrude Stanway-Tapp.

There's many a song in this queer old world
The grand chorale of the seas,
The song of the Spring to leaves unfurled
At the tops of the wakening trees;
The fugue of the rippling waterfall,
The swishing lilt of the rain—
But the strangest, weirdest song of all
Is the song of the railway train.

Clank and clatter and clang and scream—
The song mankind has made ;
Wild and weird as a nightmare dream,
Song of commerce and trade ;
By day and night, for woe and weal,
The railway train speeds on,
Over the glimmering lines of steel
Which bind the lands in one.

Through the smoky station's midnight gloom
Mysterious signals glow ;
Up on the bridge strange figures loom,
Hurrying to and fro ;
Hark ! in the distance a throbbing drone
Swells to a roaring din,
And slowing down with a shuddering groan,
The goods-train lumbers in.

Scattering hissing sparks behind
As dawn flames up in the sky,
Shriek for shriek to the frenzied wind
The engine makes reply ;
Drowning the piteous, pleading cries
Of helpless beasts in pain—
Oh! 'tis sad with a thousand sighs
The song of the railway train.

Yet—the notes of a thousand joys
Into its music blend ;
Happy chatter of girls and boys—
Greeting of friend to friend ;
Carriages rocking with mirth and song,
Snatches of rollicking rhyme ;
Any old song as we rattle along,
Homewards, at Christmas time.

Laughter, agony, blessing, curse,
Chord of a million things,
Struck on the harp of the universe,
Crashing across the strings—
Civilisation's cry of birth—
The untamed, crude refrain—
Surely the strangest sound on earth
Is the song of the railway train.

No comments: