Poetry Friday: Johnny Cash recites “The Best Friend of Charleston”

Here’s a poem that is oft heard around the Riddleburger/Bell manse these days.

It’s from a fantastic DVD: Johnny Cash: Ridin’ the Rails.

It’s a 1974 educational, very entertaining TV show that’s basically Johnny Cash talking and singing us through the history of trains in America. Highly recommended, largely because of Johnny’s apparently genuine enthusiasm for the subject. (Frankly, it will make you wonder why, in this world of 300 channels, no one makes shows like this anymore.)

At one point, he appears back in time on the day when the Best Friend of Charleston was taking its first run. That train was the first in regularly scheduled train in the U.S. (So says Johnny.)

As the train picks up speed, Johnny climbs aboard while recited this poem. I don’t know where it came from, but it certainly sounds authentic…

She’s the Best Friend of Charleston,

Neither horse nor breathin’ man.

She’s a rock of rollin’ engine.

Can she run, sir?

Yes, she can.

She’s a horseless hunk of screamin‘, steamin’,

People-haulin’ wheels.

If you’ve nerve to get aboard her

there’s a thrill you’re gonna feel.

Tip you hat and bow down to her,

Christen her upon the way.

She’s the Best Friend of Charleston.

It’s her maiden run today.

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