Old Time Riverman
by John Hartford
No one has expressed river life musically better than John Hartford, especially when he's on the river singing for good friends and fellow pilots. Author Ben Lucien Burman wrote of the legend of steamboatmen reincarnated as herons. These beautiful tall birds perch themselves just ahead of a boat on a partially submerged log or snag and then fly on to the next one apparently to warn pilots of the danger.
Where does an old time riverman go|
After he's passed away?
Does his soul still keep watch on the deep
For the rest of the river days?
Does he then come back as a channel cat,
Or the wasps that light on the wheel?
Or the birds that fly in the summer sky,
Or the fish swimming under the keel?
Where does an old time pilot go
Where does and old time engineer go