The Hobos And The Tramps

     Ah, the good old days, you may laugh at that, but you know what, maybe for them it wasn’t all that bad. Always moving, no responsibility, except for their own survival, and what they had, was true freedom. Simple, cold, down in the dirt freedom. And there’s something to be said for that..


Boxcar Living

Ah, the good old days


The hobo doesn’t ride,

the trains anymore,

and hasn’t, I’d say,

for years, more than a score.

Content now to queue,

outside the shelter’s door.

Content to stay just where they are,

the gypsy, lives no more.


No, the hobo doesn’t ride,

the trains anymore,

for there’s so much given free,

at “Salvation Army Corps.”

And now they’re called “the homeless,”

not like the days before,

when derelicts, bums, and drunkards,

were the names they bore.


Gone now are the “jungles,”

that’s what they called their camps.

Yes, gone now are the wayfarers,

the hobos and the tramps.

Huddled in cardboard lean-to’s,

warding off the damp.

That piece of Americana,

not found on postage stamps.


No, now the soup, it’s served by kitchens,

ladled out from clean steel pans,

not sipped from rusty tins,

cupped by cold, and dirty hands.

But, gone too is the rail yard bull,

swingin’ his beatin’ stick.

Busting the head of the healthy,

or the tramp that’s weak and sick.


Shunned by polite society,

considered scalawags and scamps.

 Soot faced and unshaven,

the hobos and the tramps,

always looking for the ‘outbound,’

to take them to another camp.

But, gone now is the hobo,

yes, gone now is the tramp.


 No, the hobo doesn’t ride,

the trains anymore.

No, you won’t find them looking,

for an open boxcar door.

They rode the trains into history,

on tracks, straight into lore.

But, the hobo doesn’t ride,

the trains, anymore.


 Jack Downing

Sept. 2011



Copyright©  Jack Downing, aka Jake All rights reserved. Contents may not be reprinted or disseminated in any manner without the expressed written consent of the author. JRD 11/27/12

About poemsandponderings

Hearth and Health are wonderful things and if you're without either such sorrow that brings So I cannot express enough thanks to my Lord and to my family and friends for the support you afford! ~Jack Downing~
This entry was posted in Americana, bull, common cold, Feast, history, iron hand, men, old days, women, Words on Wanderings and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Hobos And The Tramps

  1. Pingback: A Rock and A Hard Place | The World Breaks Everyone

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s