Stood at Clear

A Railway worker is killed following incorrect signalling

"WHERE is Adams?" that was the cry,
"Let us question him before he die."

Naught around in the night was seen
Save the glimmer of lamps, where the crash had been.

Right across the six-feet_way¹,
One huge hulk, engine and tender lay,

While the wailing hiss of the steam took the air,
By fits, like the low, dull tone of despair.

But still above all, rose that one clear cry
"Speak to Adams before he die."

"Here," I said, "turn your lamps on me,"
And I laid Jim's head upon my knee,

"Jim, old mate," I said in his ear,
They will ask you a question-can you hear?"

Then I saw through the grime that was on his face,
A white hue coming with slow, sure pace;

And upon his brow by the light of the lamp,
Other dew than the night's lay heavy and damp.

"Speak to him-quick!" they bent and said,
"Did the distant_signal¹ stand at red?"

Broken and slow came the words with a moan,
"Stood-at-clear," and poor Jim was gone.

I turn'd my head away from the light
To hide the tears that were blinding my sight,

And pray'd from my heart, to God that Jim
Might find heaven's signals clear to him.