The Train Song

Jen Cass
Jen Cass


He spent his early years a-workin’ on the rail

Counting all the cities that raced by him

And though he knew that he rooted to that trail

When he closed his eyes he swore that he was flying

And he worked so hard at stoking up that belly full of fire

Kept the steel ship sailing down its sea of iron wire

From the snow-capped Rocky Mountains to the sand that shaped the beach

He was always moving forward but his dreams grew out of reach along the way



He loved a woman once who begged to share his name

And his friends said he’d be crazy just to leave her

She always promised him his life would only change for the better

Somehow he couldn’t believe her

‘Cause his heart beat with the rhythm of an iron horse in stride

And he couldn’t stand to trade his dreams to make that girl his bride

On a balmy August Saturday he watched her walk the aisle

Where his brother took her hand and flashed a smile

Stole his only love away



They moved to Dearborn got a flat next to the station

It was all they could afford; the rent was cheap there

It was an awkward and a painful situation

When he passed through town he pictured them asleep there

And her husband pulled her closer when he heard the trains go by

Though she tried hard not to notice, she tried harder not to cry

She swore she’d never tell her husband how her heart did stray

If she chased her dreams, the way her one true love did, she would be with him today



Now her husband was a fireman and he worked the longest days that he could

To keep her guessing, keep her lonely

She made him angry in a fierce and forceful way

‘Cause he knew he’d never be her one and only

When he married her he thought he’d found a love to last the years

But he didn’t count on passing trains and muffled midnight tears

He could feel the knot of jealousy grow tighter in his chest

He just had to find a way to love her better, love her less, or walk away


Then came the awful day the 401derailed

Sending flames and sparks and metal flying

She heard the crashing cars, she felt herself go pale

And she fell down to her knees like she was dying

And her husband was among the men they sent to fight the fire

That raged inside that train consuming all that it desired

For a while a heart beat faintly in the belly of that beast

But the flames soon grabbed a hold, they freed his soul

And sent him drifting out of reach


He came home dirty and he came home so ashamed

Came home scared to tell her it was over

The house was empty; not a trace of her remained

After packing all her things a taxi drove her

To the station where her one true love had stood so proud and tall

Bought herself a ticket going anywhere at all

She could feel her lover’s heartbeat in the rhythm of the train

She leaned her head against the foggy window, watched the rain fall

She was free