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Thom Moore: Music

Soldier On

(Thom Moore)
Thomas Edward,
ever going bedward
to listen to his bones;
a shack on a back street,
Imperial dirt street,
served him as a home:
his children and his Rose
could see his purpose grow.
Nineteen-thirteen,
everybody certain
he won't make a dime;
"Never mind that
—mind the cow
and feed the kids on time."
He knows he's got to fly
to make his smuggler's ride.

"Rose, tell 'em I'm gone
down to Mexicali;
should not take me long,
and when I'm gone,
soldier on."

Fancy notions,
head commotions,
from reading in his books;
fifteen years he'd telegraphed
the routes of railroad goods,
but notions took his mind:
"The fortune's there to find!"
California, my
daddy was born there,
the Valley was his home;
his father knew that Asiatics
worked their hands to bone
and paid good money down
for crossing past
a border town.

"Rose, tell 'em I'm gone
down to Mexicali;
should not take me long,
and when I'm gone,
soldier on."

Laws and borders,
people giving orders,
never changed his mind;
Mexico had a revolution, but
"What the hell!" he sighed.
He left them in the night,
and he never came back
into sight.
My daddy watched her,
he couldn't fetch water,
he could not understand;
she burned his books, and,
on the night sand,
cried and cried his name:
"Oh, Thomas, you're to blame:
how can I stand this pain?"

"Rose, tell 'em I'm gone
down to Mexicali;
should not take me long,
and when I'm gone,
soldier on."

©1974 Thom Moore, reg. IMRO, MCPS