The world at war, my Dad on some foreign shore,
my young Mom with newborn me perch
with his parents near railyard splendor.
A broad plateau in blue ridge grandeur,
Roanoke, in Virginia, inhales the local coal;
steam trains then hump the lumps over
the last of the foothills and ease
into coastline shipyards, where the cargo they hold
is sent all over, to be burned for power.
Grandpa drove one of those long coal trains;
before he retired, he sat on his front porch
in a green wooden rocker, urging it to gather
enough steam to make just one more run,
to deliver the goods the world still needs,
to provide the fuel that burns at the core.