|For Brian and Cory!!
Good Luck from all the CZBrats.
The Canal Builders
|They have come from
Every breed in all creation.
Straight and kinky hair;
Swarthy skin and fair.
White and black, and brown and yellow;
Some from fever ever sallow;
Thirty thousand strong;
A hurly-burly throng.
It's a toiling, broiling legion,
Representing every region:
Every land on earth
Is their land of birth.
Every language in creation;
Every grade of social station.
Some rich and some poor:
From palace; from moor.
To the land of green-clad valleys;
Painted Janes and gaudy Sallys,
Where they spend their gold,
And they soon grow old.
Here they find disease that slays them;
But its coming ne'er dismays them;
They're not build that way,
And they're here to stay.
'Neath the killing sun they swelter,
Dodging danger, helter-skelter,
When the blast's deep roar
Makes the mountain soar.
When they don't see coming danger--
"Good job open for a stranger.
'Jack' got his to-day;
Couldn't get away."
His check gives name and last rating,
And they send a letter stating
All to heirs or friends,
And the matter ends.
The Canal is in the forming,
And there is no time for mourning
For those who are dead,
While there's work ahead.
Screech of whistle; bells' loud clanging;
Roar of furnace; hammers banging,
While the river fills
With the falling hills.
Spoil-filled trains forever rushing
Here and there and sometimes crushing
Who stands in the way,
Their quick flight to stay.
Rumbles like the roll of thunder
The slide that puts the shovel under
Twenty feet of "dirt."
Was anyone hurt?
Dig 'em out; they'll work to-morrow
In hell: They don't need your sorrow.
What's that? Only four?
Gee! Thought there was more!"
From coast to coast they sweat and swear:
From Bay to Bay they fill the air
With an awful roar
Like a surf-lashed shore.
From bronze Columbus and the maid
On Colon's shore 'neath palm tree's shade
To Morgan's lair away
In Panama Bay.
The journey's long; the journey's rough,
But go they must, and will; they're tough--
Tough of heart and thigh:
Go they will -- or die.
They're the brawn of every nation!
Nature's best from every station:
The fit here survive,
Where only fit thrive.
Cringing, weakling nor spineless shirk
Will e'er be found here; all must work.
For Empire they toil
In an alien soil.
Unto the end their work will stand,
And respect of men will command
In history's pages
Through passing ages.
This rough-and-ready, husky crew,
All stout of heart and strong of thew;
To conquer they came;
They think not of fame.
But down the ages poets' lays
Will tell the tale in words of praise
How the fight they fought
For them with peril was fraught.
And how they fought, and how they died
In house, on field, on mountainside,
Unafraid to go
When'er fell the blow.
When stately ships doth safely go
From sea to sea, the land below,
Hallowed by their blood,
Safe will hold the flood
From sea of East, and sea of West,
While on the hills their bones will rest,
Memories of the past;
Memories of the past.
The Mongol in his Eastern home
To Occidental lands will roam;
East and West will meet,
And each other greet
In grim Culebra's rock-bound gorge.
As the ships from sea to sea forge
Past the hills, all green,
And the graves, unseen--
Unseen, but forgotten, never!
Those for whose land they fell ever
Green their graves will keep;
Green their graves will keep.
Roughneck Riders by John Hall, 1912
April 29, 1930
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