©Poems of R.F.Mueller- Other Times, Other Thoughts
(In the manner of Robert Service)
Where are those bright mornings now,
Dappled kerchief flapping on a still-smooth brow,
Pirate vagabonding on a roaring freight,
Past screaming switch blocks of your empire's gate?
Where are those sylvan afternoons
Lost among the wild grape's deep festoons,
Outlaw dozer in the pastoral shade,
Enjoying the fruits of last night's raid?
Now like a whistle fading in the night,
Or like fall's last lone goose in flight,
Your days have brought you to this place
Where memory follows a familiar trace.
There beyond the depot's peeling gray
The path of the lonely rider leads away.
But the night's too cold to gaze at the stars
And you're too weary for the play time bars.
They may give you a bed at the Pembine Inn
Where even the whiskey tastes like sin,
Lay down your bundle for a long, long rest,
And dream of the rides that you found the best.
As a boy I was greatly influenced by the experiences and personalities encountered during and immediately after the Great Depression. A number of these were rural laborers and unemployed wanderers-hobos- who were full of tales of their "riding the rails." Here, as in "Ted" and "Spring Peepers", I try to capture this life with all its harshness. Pembine, named after the Pemebonwon ( Cranberry ) River by the Menominee Indians, is a real-originally logging-town in northern Wisconsin.