The Switchman's Lamp

Dedicated to all Trainmen, particularly from the Age of Steam

| September/October 1997

PO Box 1537, Hornepayne, Ontario, Canada P0M 1ZO

Yesterday I bought a Switchman's Lamp upon reflection I thought how it served, guiding one way Then the next, countless trains direction.

My boyhood and the age of steam passed one another Upon starry, quiet summer evenings of distant youth, when... From the bed I'd be called and changed forever By the eerie wail of whistle and the engines roar. Our farm's horizon slashed by a knife edged light, Transfixed I peered its beam shrinking eastward

Leading a black line of billowing shadows through the night And was gone....

By the Switchman's lamp she found her way Trailing the heart beat sound of wheel upon rail Betraying her living soul as she passed by night or day.

By the Switchman's lamp, how many homecomings had she seen Of sons and daughters returning, or the leave taking Of soldiers early call never to know what might have been.

I'm grateful to the light that guided every train.

It hurts to think the gentle giants who shouldered commerce and

Worldly care, will with living fury never again

Temper the fields, mountains or prairies still waiting there.

Sometimes progress really isn't.

And the things we learn from most, often give us pain How I yearn to hear that long whistle blow again!


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