'Member when I was a kid workin' in the old wood lot
Where we used to chop an' cut, where our winter's warmth we got—
Pa on one end of a saw, me upon the other end,
'Till I thought my body'd break like we made the cross-cut bend.
Then, just to encourage me, make my bosom swell with pride,
Pa would say, "If you can't pull, don't git on the saw an' ride."
Sometimes, though, the saw would stick, though we nearly broke our backs;
Then pa'd yell, "All hands stand by—look out fer heads—give me an ax!"
That's some twenty years ago; things have changed a heap since then—
Pa sleeps where the wood lot was, I toil here fer city men.
Some I marvel at their ways, some I marvel, some I'm mad;
Diff'rent sort of chaps are they from my dear, old, cranky dad—
Nothin' here to breathe but smoke, nothin' here to hear but noise;
Wonder thet I sometimes long fer my childhood pains an' joys?
An' I'd like to shut my eyes, shut out reason, shut out facts—
Hear again, "All hands stand by—look out fer heads—give me an ax!"
City folks ain't country folks, city ways ain't country ways—
More I come to think these things as I near my final days.
When I read of boodlers, read of those who rob the poor,
When I see the villain's hand with its touch defile the pure;
When I see the rottenness, see the slowness of reform,
See how high a wall it is decency an' right must storm,
Then I know what ails it all, know jest what it is it lacks—
Men like pa of old to yell: "Look out fer heads—give me an ax!"