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Selected poetry from

An Anthology of Steam Railroad Poetry

Volume 2

(Canadian Edition)

Edited By
Michael Gee

Text 1987 - 2005 All Rights Reserved

Redistribution without permission from the Author is forbidden.

Used with permission

The Dispatcher

by Guy Smith

(Known as "The Flying Railroader," wrote for the Canadian Association Review in September, 1933.)

As you drift along and hear the song
Of wheels beneath your feet,
Did you ever think of the worried gink
Who figures out the meets?
There's a man somewhere who on the air
Directs where they will pass;
He 's sitting alone with his pen and phone
And a timeboard 'neath the glass.

Not young nor old but crabbed and cold,
With hair fast turning gray,
He's watched the sheets and made the meet
For many a troubled day.
His job is to know how fast they'll go
And where they will be stopping,
To read the mind ahead and behind
And know why time they're dropping.
He must explain why plans go lame,
And why the speed was struck.
He will catch hell, but truth must tell
He cannot pass the buck.
Day in, day out, he goes without
His exercise and lunches.
He is forlorn and a gambler born,
Who plays his many hunches.

This man don't care if train crews swear,
Because they throw some switches.
He has grown tough doing his own stuff
To keep them from the ditches.
But off the job with the rest of the mob
He's one real lively player.
Then life's worthwhile, there's time to smile,
For the crabby train delayer.