Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Old Engine Driver


For five and twenty years I've run
A famous train;
But now my spell of speed is done,
No more I'll strain
My sight along the treadless tracks,
The gleamy rails:
My hand upon the throttle slacks,
My vision fails.

No more I'll urge my steed of steel
Through hostile nights;
No more the mastery I'll feel
Of monster might.
I'll miss the hiss of giant steam,
The clank, the roar;
The agony of brakes that scream
I'll hear no more.

Oh I have held within my hand
A million lives;
And now my son takes command
And proudly drives;
While from my cottage wistfully
I watch his train,
And wave and wave and seem to see
Myself again.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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