The Age of Steam

The Age of Steam

A Poem by David Lewis Paget

The news spread over the countryside

As a clatter from iron rails,

The ominous sound of clacketty-clack

From their intersecting trails,

The plodding Goods of the 0-4-0

To the proud Express from Cheam,

It muttered as it was going past,

‘They’re going to get rid of Steam!’

 

The sudden shock brought an answering hoot

From the stack of the proud Express,

That whispered by on its 4-6-2

But shuddered to draw its breath.

‘And what will they pull their Pullmans with?’

As it passed through an April shower,

A 4-6-0 on another track:

‘They’re moving to diesel power!’

 

The steam from the Earl of Erin laid

A trail through the valley floor,

Its coals glowed red from the firebox grid

As the fireman shovelled more,

A Day Excursion that quietly sat

To wait for the train to pass,

Had whispered, ‘Sorry to see you go,

You’re King of the Master Class.’

 

The smoke that billowed from out the stack

Had turned from white to black,

The footplate shuddered, the furnace roared

As it raced along the track,

‘They say they’re moving to diesel power

And they’re getting rid of steam,’

The Earl of Erin had hurtled by

As a Tank Engine had screamed!

 

The driver, checking the frantic pace

Was trying to slow it down,

But nothing worked, not even the brakes,

‘We’re headed for Hampton Town!

We shouldn’t be doing sixty-five

We’re twenty over the top,

He slammed the door of the firebox shut

And the fireman’s shovel dropped.

 

The tender’s couplings opened up

And the Pullmans fell away,

The Earl of Erin had surged ahead

With a new found power that day,

It passed a struggling 0-4-0

As it headed toward the sea,

Gave one long blast on its whistle then

To say, ‘I’m finally free!’

 

The fireman jumped at the water tower,

The glass was going down,

The driver jumped when it hurtled through

The Halt at Hampton Town,

The Earl of Erin went racing on

When the sea came into view,

But locked the brakes at the water’s edge

Just as the boiler blew.

 

The Earl of Erin’s a rusted wreck

That still sits there on the line,

And children crawl on its footplate there

And dream of another time,

A time of dragons, a time of trains

A time they can only dream,

The age of romance, gone at last,

It died with the age of steam!

 

David Lewis Paget

© 2014 David Lewis Paget


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Featured Review

I come from a railroad family. Oh, how I wish that
I could read this to Grandpa! This poem drips with
nostalgia. I was riding your train. I felt every chug.
My heart raced, and my fingers gripped the cold,
metal bar as we raced forward to freedom!
Captivating write, David.


Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Nice and nostalgic. I miss trains. When I was a kid, mom us to take us by train to see Great Granny in Moline, Illinois. One of th better memories of childhood.

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Reading this, I felt I was riding on a train, and I've never been on a train before.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Laughing out loud, I loved the old steam engines. Used to hear them now and then years ago. Everything good seems to be gone. Faster is not always better, great write as always..Kathie

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I come from a railroad family. Oh, how I wish that
I could read this to Grandpa! This poem drips with
nostalgia. I was riding your train. I felt every chug.
My heart raced, and my fingers gripped the cold,
metal bar as we raced forward to freedom!
Captivating write, David.


Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

One of your best what a romanticism this embodies the age of the dinosaurs of steam beautiful rendition painted in words as if a masters canvas

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Great story Casey Jones. Train nuts do wax nostalgic over the old steam driven locomotive, that's for sure. I did see one at a museum once and it was kinda cool. Evern if it didn't do anything. One time I saw a B-17 bomber and a B-24 flying together. Those two war birds win the coolest antique prize ever. At least one's I've seen. They sounded like big boats and moved so slow they looked like they were going to fall out of the sky. I went to the air show they were at the next day and walked through both of them. Man were they rinky dink aircraft. Those aircrews must have had enormous cojones just to crawl through that hatch when mission time came.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 2 people found this review constructive.

The Earl of Erin went out proudly, as befitted this fine old engine. THough I was sorryto see it end a "rusted wreck".

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

The steady rhythm and meter travels fluidly along its clicketty-clack. A testimony of the progress of Man and the emotions of what is left behind.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Such power, fast moving down the tracks with images of how it would be the men on the trains rolling by with immense steam bellowing out. And a wonderful way to end this superb piece. Kids love trians, the travel to somewhere away to wherever it goes sometimes imagining like here place they will be traveling to..

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Sheer power echoes in the distance of this write...
and the action of the locomotives and the changes of time...
your usage of the Engine numbers...and the fast paced action...
going going and gone...as with the steam --- on with the diesel...
yet the ending gives more then just a passing...
as children run about the wreckage of the past...
and the legend of the aftermath carries through...

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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691 Views
10 Reviews
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Added on February 27, 2014
Last Updated on February 27, 2014
Tags: rails, Express, Pullmans, firebox

Author

David Lewis Paget
David Lewis Paget

Moonta, South Australia, Australia



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