The Man in the Cab

THE MAN IN THE CAB.

Safe and snug in the sleeping car
Are father and mother and dreaming 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 up 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 drive-wheels smite
The trembling rails till the whole earth rocks.
But never a searching eye could trace —
Though the night is black and the speed appalls —
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 engine 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.

— Nixon Watterman, in L.A.W. Bulletin.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Oct 25, 1897

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