Train Of Thought

A Song by Ernie Hills

I meditate, as thunders by
The last steam train from sea-kissed coast,
And lingering clear on mountain air
The whistle's plaintive sweet Last Post
Sounds Requiem for Stephenson
And for his work-horse, sturdy, strong,
Which day and night, through all these years
Has hauled the East-West trains along.

It tribute pays to Vulcan's men
Who made the steam to turn the wheel
By furnace glow, 'neath billowing smoke,
With rhythmic ring of steel on steel,
And drivers, keen eyes strained ahead
Through darkness deep and sleety rain,
Delivering freight and passengers
O'er gruelling grade and pleasant plain.

What cared the honeymooners for
The ‘Midnight Horror's’ jolt and sway?
No more than sheep and cattle bound
For Cannon Hill and Doboy way!
And laughing children, pleasure-bent
For beach or picnic at Spring Bluff,
Found fresh fun forming fancied phrase
Pulsations to proud ‘Putter's’ chuff!

Tales told by men whose youth is gone
Bring memories of adventures past,
But Progress rolls forever on
With heavier loads and schedules fast.
New skills have displaced muscled might
On automatons that burn no coal,
Yet romance, too, has taken flight-
Electric and diesels have no soul!

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