Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A SONG OF PANAMA, by ALFRED DAMON RUNYON



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A SONG OF PANAMA, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Chuff! Chuff! Chuff!' an' a mountain-bluff
Last Line: As we lift the landscape along!
Alternate Author Name(s): Runyon, Damon
Subject(s): Panama Canal; Canal Zone


"CHUFF! chuff! chuff!" An' a mountain bluff
Is moved by the shovel's song;
"Chuff! chuff! chuff!" Oh, the grade is rough
A liftin' the landscape along!

We are ants upon a mountain, but we're leavin' of our dent,
An' our teeth-marks bitin' scenery they will show the way we went;
We're a liftin' half creation, an' we're changin' it around,
Just to suit our playful purpose when we're diggin' in the ground.

"Chuff! chuff! chuff!" Oh, the grade is rough,
An' the way to the sea is long;
"Chuff! chuff! chuff!" an' the engines puff
In tune to the shovel's song!

We're a shiftin' miles like inches, and we grab a forest here
Just to switch it over yonder so's to leave an angle clear;
We're a pushin' leagues o' swamps aside so's we can hurry by --
An' if we had to do it we would probably switch the sky!

"Chuff! chuff! chuff!" Oh, it's hard enough
When you're changin' a job gone wrong;
"Chuff! chuff! chuff!" an' there's no rebuff
To the shovel a singin' its song!

You hears it in the mornin' an' you hears it late at night --
It's our battery keepin' action with support o' dynamite;
Oh, you gets it for your dinner, an' the scenery skips along
In a movin' panorama to the chargin' shovel's song!

"Chuff! chuff! chuff!" an' it grabs the scruff
Of a hill an' boosts it along;
"Chuff! chuff! chuff!" Oh, the grade is rough,
But it gives to the shovel's song!

This is a fight that's fightin', an' the battle's to the death;
There ain't no stoppin' here to rest or even catch your breath;
You ain't no noble hero, an' you leave no gallant name --
You're a fightin' Nature's army, an' it ain't no easy game!

"Chuff! chuff! chuff!" Oh, the grade is rough,
An' the way to the end is long,
"Chuff! chuff! chuff!" an' the engines puff
As we lift the landscape along!





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