Thursday, November 1, 2012


(One of two songs about bums that Dad would sing when in a good mood.  Pretty much only when we were young.)

Oh, it's early in the morning and the dew is on the ground.
The bum arises from his nest and gazes all around
From the boxcar to the haystack, he gazes everywhere
And never turns back upon his track until he's beat a square

(I remember all of both bum songs.  I don't remember the two sort of songs that Grandpa [Mom's Dad] used to say.  He'd recite them in a low, sing-song voice.  I think the lack of melody is why I've forgotten them while I've remembered most of Dad's songs.)

The train is coming, ka chunk a lunk
A mile a minute it has to make
A big black snake with flaming eyes
That wiggles ane waggles along the ties


Sparks are falling, a fiery rain,
The tunnel is waiting to swallow the train.
Goodbye, goodbye, tomorrow to come again.


Oh this is a sorrowful story,
Told as the twilight fails,
When the monkeys walked together
A'holding each others tales.

 . . . . our forefathers.
Foolish people were they.
They went down to the farmhouse
To teach the Farmer to play.

Then came the dour Farmer (they)
Nothing of play he (they) knew
He something something our forefathers
someting something

He something something something
And cut off their beautiful tales
and the verse must have ended

We never speak to our forefathers
For if the Farmers knew
They would come down to the forest
And put us to labor, too.

Oh this is a sorrowful story
Told as the twilight fails
When the monkeys walk together
A'holding each other's tales


I tried looking up the sorrowful story with Google and only got a reference for what turned out to be the first verse, and only the first verse, embedded in a book looking back on someone's childhood in Louisiana.

[7/4/14  -  UPDATE!  It's Kipling!  The title of the poem is The Legends of Evil.]

I'm pretty sure Grandpa never had anything like verses 3, 6, and 7.  But he got fairly close with the rest.  

Update continued.  The Train Song was sung by Cisco Houston.  It also evolved as people passed it around.  Coolness.  

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