ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Steel Away.

Updated on October 31, 2009


My grandpap used
to ride the rails
he'd steel away
on their backs
to escape the
depression of the 30's.

His fleet feet running
over the gravel inclines
just missing the gaps
between the ties,
skipping two or three at a time
in acrobatic flight
not seen much today.

One misstep, and an arm
or leg could be gone,
but his strong and calloused
hand reached out
to snag a handle
or a lip as a grip,
that when grabbed
caused him to be be
yanked forward as
his legs swung deftly,
up into the open maw
of a boxcar mobile home.

Sometimes another
scraggly arm would emerge
to grab his hand and
pull him in to safety,
at other times a
rougher fist would extend
and disembark him
with a solid blow
and a tumble
to the grass that lay
below the trestles banks.

Bruised and battered
he'd wait for the next ride
to come by and set him free
from a small town
with no work to fill his pockets ]
or his empty gut.

He traveled all over
the country that way
for several years seeking
hope and only finding
hobo camps where each man
would bring something
to add to the poor man's stew.
Some tidbit stolen
or purloined from a
farmers field or hen house.

He loved those years
even though they were leaner
then a dessicated rat
in a mouse traps slap
ten years after it had snapped....

He made tracks that stayed
in his soul till the day he died.
I could often see
distant horizons in his eyes
as he blew smoke rings
from his non-filtered Raleigh's,
and whispered of the
glory days gone by,
frozen forever between the
locomotives and the caboose.

Sipping cold water
from a tin cup he filled my head
with the chilly dawn's spent
sleeping in a ventilated boxcar.

Or the splash of a river's
flow to clean sleep dirt
from eyes that had seen
little to dream about except
the endless breathtaking
beauty all across the land.

Sometimes even now
when I hear the lonesome wail
of a train blowing it's solo song
as it passes through,
I can see him running
alongside and catching the
last express to eternity
for an endless ride of joy.

I realize now that
when he whistled
it was so similar to that
haunting sound that
a train sends out
over the sleepy villas
and small towns
where all the stationary
folks reside.....

"Godspeed Grandpap Ebey ..
I'll catch a later train
and bring some carrots
for that hobo soup

......... See you on the other side of the tracks....."


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)