Box 6, Byron, Oklahoma
The smoke is gone from the prairie, and the boys from the cook
shack door the whistle is silenced forever And it’s call is
heard no more.
No more in the summers darkness will the engineer rise at three
and crawl in a sooty fireboxs black as black could be.
No more on sunlit mornings will we load the racks with sheaves
and across the fields go trailing to some old faithful Reeves.
No more we’ll wash together in the dishpans rimmed with dirt
and dry on a towel wet and grimy or the tail of our sweaty
No more we’ll eat the cook shack grub Herring, beans and
punk Java, tomatoes, lovely spuds Sow bacon by the chunk.
The coffee’d come in on crutches The butter’d walk in
alone The cake they baked was soggy The bread was heavy as
But Oh! the joy when a good cook came and the fare was
Delmonico. We’d eat and eat till no more we’d hold And yet
was loath to go.
No more we’ll lay in the, hay loft and listen to the rain
drops beat While the hoboes told of the charmers ‘mong the
girls on Tremont Street.
No more we’ll hear their lusty songs or the thrumm of the
old guitar as a coyote wailed his troubles to the points of a
No more we’ll sit in the moonlight when all was quiet and
still and list to the farm girls singing the songs that gave a
No more we’ll follow the threshing from the place where hot
winds blow to the far fields of Canada the land of the North
No more we’ll feel the engine’s throb the pulse that
came through steel or knew the smell of smoke and steam the music
of whining wheel.
No more we’ll hear the threshers hum or the song of the
engine’s exhaust we know that it means naught to you but to us
its something lost.
No more we’ll tail from sun to sun but know the joy of rest
we grieve the thresher mans passing and yet we know its best.
The smoke is gone from the prairie and the boys from the cook
shack door the whistle is silenced forever and it’s call is
heard no more.