Code of the Railroad

by George Fosty

If you want to work the railroad
You need to learn to spike.
A good man can hammer one into the wood
On two or three drives.
Some take longer.
They learn fast
Or soon they're gone.
She don't take kindly
To men too slow for the job.
So if you want to be a railroader, boy
You must hit it on its head.
You'll probably miss the first swing or two
And feel the frustration SET!
Then again, you just might hit
The top of the rail.
Well, don't you worry, they say
Steel, She no cries!
In fact, the sound you hear
When your hammer makes contact
Is the railroader's drum beat
Across the base of the Transport Line.
Yes, Boy that's music!
Music to the ears
Every time a railroader
Spikes his hammer
Along the face of the
Steel ribbons
That show no tears.
So if you want to be a
Railroader, boy
Take it from me and the others
And learn to spike.
Because the sooner it is you hear
Steel rail music
The sooner you'll
Know what the job of
A railroader is
Really like.

© 2010 by George Fosty











About the Author

George Fosty is a Canadian-born historian and writer living in New York City. He is the co-author/author of six books: "Sustaining The Wings" (1991) , "The Desperate Glory: The Battle Of Dieppe, 1942" (1991), "Splendid Is The Sun: The 5,000 Year History of Hockey "(2003), "Black Ice: The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes, 1895-1925" (2004), "Footie's Black Book: A Guide To International Association Football" (2010), and "Short Lines: The Poems Of A Railroad Trackman 1979-1987" (2010). In addition, he is also a featured writer in the book, "Multiple Lenses: Voices From The Diaspora In Canada" (2007).

He and his brother, Darril, are two of Canada's best known historians and are considered the leading experts on the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes, an all-black hockey league that existed in Eastern Canada from 1895 to 1931. In 2007, the Fosty brothers gained international recognition and acclaim for their historical work in the sport of ice hockey after being featured in the ESPN documentary "Frozen Out."


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