Poetry of Kansas

The Railroad Man.

Three cheers I say for the railroad
    The man whose nerves of steel
Brave death as only a hero's
    With every turn of the wheel.
The hazard of the rail is rife
    With greater risk than war;
The Mauser takes one noble life,
    The grinding wheels a score.
The service, better year by year,
    Is pushed with keenest vim;
Yet new conveniences come clear
    In railroad life and limb.
Excessive hours have grown in
    Till Nature fairly reels;
While flesh and blood exhaust their
And then the deadly wheels.
Responsibility and risk
    Confront him all the while.
What wonder he is brief and brisk,
    In honest soldier style ?
His heart how fearless, warm,
    His handshake how intense.
And What a head, so cool and
    In sudden exigence.
His faith and trust in man beget
    A faith in God as well,
What railroad man was ever yet
    At heart an infidel ?
No better friend on earth than he,
    No more unflinching foe;
With honest need how kind and free,
    How harsh with sham and show.
Then cheer the heroes of the rail,
    Befriend them if in need;
The Knighthood of the grimy mail,
    The Chivalry of speed.

__Harry Edward Mills.


Select Sunflowers
Harry Edward Mills
(Fort Scott: Sunflower Press. 1901)
Pages 18-19

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May 25, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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