Seeger Train

Pete Seeger: A Hope Train

The old peace train was
Taken to an abandoned siding today
Left to rust and grow wild flowers around
Those steel wheels of protest
Ancient boxcars once
Held hobos bound for glory
Across America
On a train called the City of New Orleans
Will now sit hauntingly idle, as
The four winds blow through
Rickety doors of days gone-by
The smell of creosote and diesel
Will baptize them daily
Peace signs and graffiti symbols
Of the protesting sixties
Adorn weather stained cars
No one will be inspired to pick up
Fallen gauntlets of peace and love
To be used to rally vagabond troops
From town to town as,
The rolling, rattling, roaring freight train
Hustles past flashing red crossing lights,
With dinging bells ringing out a warning
On remote midnight country roads,
Where no one notices the full potential
A guitar and banjo has on the working classes
The train of Seeger’s thoughts
Has been sidetracked before, to no avail,
Even though the engineer is gone,
You will always here his engine whistle,
Faintly in this good night as you awake
For unknown reasons in the middle of the night,
Taking peace in knowing that one might silence
The engineer, but never his whistle, that continues
Blowing out warnings to brothers and sisters
Of this great planet of ours
“Tell all the people of the world, join in, and
Board the Peace train.”
Because this train is bound for glory, and
Will not be superseded, by the meanstream express,
That doesn’t allow hobos and the “others”.
Where constitutions, manifestos, and collective agreements,
Are left blowing in the wind. For, we shall overcome!

Charles has been a social activist for 35 years. He can be reached at : aroha@shaw.ca. Read other articles by Charles.