Tuesday, January 24, 2012

John Henry

A country man and railroad man, both he
And all the rugged workers on the line,
From future, past, dismembered.  Faces shine;
The eerie darkness glows.  His limbs swing free,
To wage one useless war against the sea
By blasting earth.  The measured holes combine,
Two seven-footers his; the drill’s one nine.
He won and died of it, shrewd prophecy!

A man today would never even start
To pit himself against the iron beast
And give his best before he’d say he’d tried.
The cold machine has atrophied his heart,
As limbs will shrink within a cast.  At least
When Henry burst his heart, a man had died.

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