Song of the Saw by C.J. Dennis

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[Mr. M. L_____, whose tender for fifty thousand sleepers has been accepted, proposes to fell many of the magnificent gums growing on his estate. - News item.]

Sing ho for the whirring King of Steel,
   And the bite of his sharp, relentless teeth!
Vanished his prey, till the earth reveal,
   Where rotting veins lie underneath.

Born was I in the heart of flame,
   Born 'mid the roaring furnace blast,
In the land where the grimy workmen came,
  Where giant beams go flashing past.

They fashioned my form with cunning hands,
   Where hammers clash and the anvil rings,
And sent me forth to the tree-clad lands
   To seek my prey 'mid the forest kings.

Fifty years had they reigned, or more,
   Forest monarchs of giant girth;
Far from the smoke, and clash, and roar
   Of the grimy place that gave me birth.

Fifty years had they reigned in peace
   Over a country verdant, fair;
Year by year did their might increase,
   Till I and my ally -- man -- came there.

And they set me up on an iron bench,
   And ground my cruel teeth anew,
That I might better tear and wrench
   These mighty monarchs thro' and thro'.

One by one did they crash to earth;
   One by one did the kings depart,
While I whirred and buzzed, and shrieked in mirth,
   As I gnawed into the very heart.

And lo! in the land that had known their reign,
   The land that was verdure-clad and fair,
Nought but the rotting roots remain
   To tell of the mighty kings that were.

Then -- Ho, for the March of the King of Steel
   And the weary waste that marks his track!
For who may the sign of his path conceal;
   Or give to the land its monarchs back?

First published in The Critic, 3 August 1901

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on August 3, 2013 8:31 AM.

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