A mournful train whistle,
that most evocative sound,
heralds the departure and
the wheels start their round
There can have been few things as
satisfying as a long slow train ride,
especially across those rolling spaces
seen from a window, safely sat inside.
We dreamed our American dreams,
listened to all those train songs,
in our minds made those journeys
as we sat and sang along.
The Midnight Special with its hope
heard from the institutional hell
of the state penitentiary
with its prisoner filled cells.
Hank sang the California Zephyr,
Willie the City of New Orleans,
Seeming strange exotic places
where none of us had ever been.
We heard all those legends.
learned them one and all,
The Orange Blossom Special,
The Wabash Cannonball,
and it seemed to us in those days
railroad tracks were the veins
carrying the lifeblood of America
on those romantically named trains.
Now the world has moved on
and travel is too fast.
No time now for the enjoyment
of a journey that lasts;
an age of innocence is gone,
an enemy has extended his reach
all the way to Fortress America
which has been so badly breached.
I'll dream my American dreams
with the contentment I will find
as I listen to my music and ride
again those trains there in my mind.