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"The Burly Fading One" by Robert Hayden

"The Burly Fading One"

by Robert Hayden

The burly fading one beside the engine,

holding a lantern in his hand,

is Uncle Jed--bullyboy

of wintered recollections now.

Coal miner, stevedore and railroad man,

oh how he brawls and loves,

a Bible over his headlong heart

and no liquor on his breath.

And when he dies, dies not in his own

well-mastered bed but in the waters

of the Johnstown flood, in wild attempt--

so sibling innuendoes all aver--

To save the jolly girl

his wife had mortally wished dead.

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