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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

SECTION GANG: DAYBREAK, by                    
First Line: Up comes the sun
Last Line: But he wouldn't know.
Subject(s): Dawn; Labor & Laborers; Railroads; Sunrise; Work; Workers; Railways; Trains

Up comes the sun.
It seems to overflow through the chopped-out windows
of a train of old red freight cars.
Parked on the siding,
but a few feet from the rushing roaring traffic,
they lie silent, quiet, secluded.
Silent freight cars,
they have done their years of toil,
hauling tons of dead weight all the way from Burlington, Quincy,
and back.
And now, their usefulness not gone, they are
retired from the ranks
of the rushing brawling freight cars
to become the home of the section gangs,
the home of the gandy dancers.
A gandy dancer at 3 A.M. is a very ordinary individual.
He yawns, snores, and sleeps the sleep of the wearied
just like James Smith, or Harry Jones, or any other lawabiding citizen of this great U.S.A.
But wake him up -- he's different from anyone else.
because he's the builder,
he's the repairer of the cold smooth silver bands,
the trail for the giant locomotives,
the guide-lines for the rhythmic flying Zephyrs --
the creator of the railroad tracks of the nation.
But he wouldn't know.

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