Alexander Anderson

(1845-1909 / Scotland)

'Drew The Wrong Lever!'


This was what the pointsman said,
With both hands at his throbbing head:—


'I drew the wrong lever standing here
And the danger signals stood at clear;


'But before I could draw it back again
On came the fast express, and then—


'There came a roar and a crash that shook
This cabin-floor, but I could not look


'At the wreck, for I knew the dead would peer
With strange dull eyes at their murderer here.'


'Drew the wrong lever?' 'Yes, I say!
Go, tell my wife, and—take me away!'


That was what the pointsman said,
With both hands at his throbbing head.


O ye of this nineteenth century time,
Who hold low dividends as a crime,


Listen. So long as a twelve-hours' strain
Rests like a load of lead on the brain,


With its ringing of bells and rolling of wheels,
Drawing of levers until one feels


The hands grow numb with a nerveless touch,
And the handles shake and slip in the clutch,


So long will ye have pointsmen to say—
'Drew the wrong lever! take me away!'

Submitted: Monday, March 03, 2014
Edited: Monday, March 03, 2014

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