Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MAN IN THE CAB, by NIXON WATERMAN



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THE MAN IN THE CAB, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Safe and snug in the sleeping-car
Last Line: Of the man in the greasy overalls.
Alternate Author Name(s): Martin, Peter
Subject(s): Disasters; Railroad Wrecks; Storms; Train Wrecks


SAFE and snug in the sleeping-car
Are father and mother and sleeping child;
The night outside shows never a star,
For the storm is thick and the wind is wild.
The frenzied train in its all-night race
Holds many a soul in its fragile walls,
While in his cab, with a smoke-stained face,
Is the man in the greasy overalls.

Through the firebox door the heat glows white,
The steam is hissing at all the cocks;
The pistons dance and the drivewheels smite
The trembling rails till the whole earth rocks.
But never a searching eye could trace —
Though the night is black and the speed appals —
A line of fear in the smoke-stained face
Of the man in the greasy overalls.

No halting, wavering coward he,
As he lashes his engines around the curve,
But a peace-encompassed Grant or Lee,
With a heart of oak and an iron nerve.
And so I ask that you make a place
In the Temple of Heroes' sacred halls
Where I may hang the smoke-stained face
Of the man in the greasy overalls.





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