The Railroad Crossing by Hezekiah Strong

I can’t tell much about the thing, ’twas done so powerful quick;
But ‘pears to me I got a most outlandish heavy lick:
It broke my leg, and tore my skulp, and jerked my arm ‘most out.
But take a seat: I’ll try and tell jest how it kem about.

You see, I’d started down to town, with that ‘ere team of mine,
A-haulin’ down a load o’ corn to Ebenezer Kline,
And drivin’ slow; for, jest about a day or two before,
The off-horse run a splinter in his foot, and made it sore.

You know the railroad cuts across the road at Martin’s Hole:
Well, thar I seed a great big sign, raised high upon a pole;
I thought I’d stop and read the thing, and find out what it said,
And so I stopped the hosses on the railroad-track, and read.

I ain’t no scholar, rekollect, and so I had to spell,
I started kinder cautious like, with R-A-I and L;
And that spelt “rail” as clear as mud; R-O-A-D was “road.”
I lumped ’em: “railroad” was the word, and that ‘ere much I knowed.

C-R-O and double S, with I-N-G to boot,
Made “crossing” jest as plain as Noah Webster dared to do’t.
“Railroad crossing”—good enough!—L double-O-K, “look”;
And I wos lookin’ all the time, and spellin’ like a book.

O-U-T spelt “out” just right; and there it was, “look out,”
I’s kinder cur’us like, to know jest what’t was all about;
F-O-R and T-H-E; ’twas then “look out for the—”
And then I tried the next word; it commenced with E-N-G.

I’d got that fur, when suddintly there came an awful whack;
A thousand fiery thunderbolts just scooped me off the track;
The hosses went to Davy Jones, the wagon went to smash,
And I was histed seven yards above the tallest ash.

I didn’t come to life ag’in fur ’bout a day or two;
But, though I’m crippled up a heap, I sorter struggled through;
It ain’t the pain, nor ‘taint the loss o’ that ‘ere team of mine;
But, stranger, how I’d like to know the rest of that ‘ere sign!