"The most important of life's battles is the one we fight daily in the silent chambers of the soul."

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Brakemen or Switchmen

Brakemen or switchman, as they often called, is a job enshrouded in lore, preserved in time, and glorified because of its difficulties, dangers, and opportunities. It took a unique individual to endure the elements, a sound body and mind to respond quickly, and nerves like steel to always be alert to danger.
This poem was written on a cold night on a napkin. Many nights he came in with ice hanging off his face from riding the back of boxcars. Then jumping off while in motion to switch the tracks and jump back on again.
Well they finished their square meal,
around 12:00 straight up and down.
In a railroad roundhouse, though
a round engine wasn't found.

If you want to be well rounded and sane,
get squared away, get balanced again.
We must settle in our minds what's round and what's square.

If we settle round here we must have a square share,
of the rounds the squares, whatever they may be
and from the quagmire of rounds and squares a solution must be shared.

The answer isn't a simple one , two or three.

Though the English Vocablary may be sound,
to deny this wouldn't be quite fair,
But say, tell me if you can, what is round,
and take a deeper plunge and please tell me what is square!
James Gargus
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