I'm home from the U.S. Army, Basic Training, combat ready,
My old home town has changed a lot, that is except for Eddy,

He's about the only kid who hasn't moved away,
And even those who've stayed are not as happy here today,

There's no one here to run with, only little Nephew Jim,
Maybe I'll take him fishing if he's old enough to swim,

Why, he is the shyest kid I think I've ever seen,
Gentle as a kitten and I've never seen him mean,

What you say we go out on the railroad for a walk?
Fishing from the bridge and have a sandwich and a talk,

Fifteen years I'm older than my brother's orphan son,
You need someone to show you things and brothers have you none,

Soon, (a couple of weeks), and I'll return to learn of war,
But for now forgetting that, civilian once more,

Why are railroad ties all spaced in such a fiendish way?
Too close to take one at a time, and three too far away,

It doesn't seem to matter if your gait is fast or slow,
Walking on the tracks is such an awkward way to go,

Now we're on the bridge, you'd better watch your step up here,
Look, I saw a big one jump -- there's not much room, I fear,

Quiet as can be today, we'd hear a train for miles,
Good, you brought your leader, hooks and missing-toothed smiles,

How'd you get a bite so fast? Your line is jerking tight,
Sure must be a big one, he puts up an awful fight,

Oh my God, it can't be! There's a train upon this bridge,
There's only room for it, I know, and not an extra inch,

Run, Jim, run! We'll make it to the other bank I pray,
It's worse that walking, running on these things, there's just no way,

Where is Jim? He's fallen with his foot stuck in the crack,
I've got to get back to him, crouching helpless on the track,

There's barely time to save him now, to jump's the only way,
I try to take him with me and to leap out of the way,

He's falling now to safety with his fish and with his line,
But I have lost the wager, trading his young life for mine,

Soldiers learn to save themselves to fight another day,
But I refused to pay the price automatons must pay.

                                                           by D. Edgar Murray