The Engine Driver

Geelong Advertiser Saturday 4 October 1913 p. 11.
He is not a swagger person, his appearance isn't gay :
No brass band blares a welcome for this man of modest pay ;
Just an unobtrusive toiler, whose work we little heed,
Unless it be to grumble at his—sometimes!—lack of speed.          
Yet the engine-driver carries life and limb within his hand,
As he leaves the miles behind him in the sunny sumrnerland.

We seldom think of accidents when travelling up and down,  
And realise no danger in the daily trip to town:
But—the missing of a signal, a hand that lacked its nerve !  
Then—the crash of splintered timber as we round a "danger" curve,
The cries of woe and terror ! and Death with icy hand.
Would reap a sudden harvest in the sunny summerland.

Or in the winter, cold and drear, through fog, or rain, or snow—        
Through driving sleet and bitter blast the heavy train must go.    
We shiver in our cushioned coach, amid the warmth and light.        
And little heed the plucky man. who swiftly through the night
Is bearing us in safety by his skill and ready hand.
As we leave the miles behind us in the dreary winter land.

There are honors for the soldier, and laurel leaves and bays.
And he shines with Jack Tar, true and blue, in patriotic lays;        
Yet the driver on the railway is also proud to boast
That not a few among his ranks have died at duty's post.      
The mem'ry of their dauntless pluck oft nerves his ready hand
As he leaves the miles behind him in the sunny summerland.  

* * *  

Then, here's to you Mister Driver! You're a "man of mettle" true,  
May your "lines" in pleasant places fall, the way all "clear" for you!      
We do not often "tip" you, but this humble rhyme may show
That we sometimes think about you, and your pluck and merit know.      
So, here's to you, Mister Driver ! and we wave a cheery hand.
As you leave the miles behind you in the sunny summerland.

No comments: