'AS THE PILE DRIVER TOLD IT'


| March/April 1960



Yes, I've been runnin' steam engines f'r more than fifty years, 
An' th' more I studies their habits, the certainer it appears
That human bein's came closest to God an' the angeles when
They first created steam engines an' set 'em to workin' f'r men:
F'r of all of men's inventions, from now, way back to the flood,
Steam engines comes the nearest to bein' like flesh an' blood.

Gas engines has their merits -- they pack more power to the pound - 
But that's no great advantage, so long as you stay on the ground,
An' when it comes to flyin' I'll wait till they make a machine
That ain't so darnd dependent on havin' its gasoline.

Steam engines now, are human, just like a man or a mule,
They ain't at all particular about what they have for fuel,
If there ain't no cole pile handy there's other tricks you can turn,
F'r there's no place on creation where you can't find somethin' to burn
Blubber, hay or cactus -- I've got up steam with 'em all --
An' I even fired a B'iler without no fuel at all.

That was up in the Andes Mountains, atop o' the timber line,
On a pumpin' job -- unwaterin' the Cerro de Pasco mine.
Seventy miles from a railroad, three miles up in the sky --
They bile at 180 when you get up that high,
We fired fer a while on cord wood, packed up on Llamas, which
Is a stinkin', half baked camel, till our cholo choppers got rich
An' quit in a bunch, one payday, we might have been shut down yet
If me an' th' head geologer hadn't ah' made a bet.

He said right where we was workin' was an old volcano's spout
An' there must be a fire in the mountain yet if we could only get it out.

I told him if he'd locate it I'd hook it some way.
He said I couldn't do it, so I bet him a whole months pay.
I thought the youngster was bluffin', but he was there with the dope,
F'r he showed me a hot spring b'illin' a short ways down th' slope.
Well, I screwed up a coil o' steam pipe an' shoved it down in that hole,
An' it turned that engine over just like we was burnin' coal,
I couldn't get up much pressure, but I rigged up a condensin' gear,
An' we pumped them Spanish workin's dry on half of an atmosphere.