"On one cloudless morning I stood on the mountain"
The Narrator is looking atop of a mountain on a clear, blue day.
Just watching the smoke from below
Smoke caught his eye from below the mountain
"It was coming from a tall, slim smokestack"
The smoke was coming from a chimney of some sort of heavy industry such as a ship, or factory or train
"Way down on the southern railroad"
It was coming from the South direction on the Railroad
"It was the 97, the fastest train Ever ran the Southern line"
The train's name is 97 and 97 is the fastest train that has ever runned on the southern railroad
"All the freight trains and passengers take the side for 97"
Everyone and Everything moves to the side for the 97, thats how fast it is.
"For she's bound to be at stations on time"
"She" is implying to the train and she always makes it on time
"They gave him his orders at Monroe, Virginia, Saying, "Stevie, you're way behind time."
Stevie was given orders and they told him that he was already way behind schedule
"This is not 38, but its Old 97, You must put her into Spencer on time"
Again her is referring to Old 97, and she is different in speed wise than the 38 and that will help with getting the orders on time
"He looked 'round and said to his black greasy fireman, just shovel in a little more coal"
Stevie said to the fireman to add a little more coal to the train
"And when I cross that old White Oak Mountain, You can just watch Old 97 roll"
Old 97 is going to run ever so fast as soon as it hits the mountain
"It's a mighty rough road from Lynchburg to Danville, And the lie was a three-mile grade"
From Lynchburg to Danville, it is three miles on the grade
"It was on the grade that he lost his air brakes, And you see what a jump that she made"
"He was going down the the grade making 90 miles an hour when his whistle began to scream"
The train was going 90 miles an hour when whistle started to make some noise (change this)
"He was found in that wreck with his hand on the throttle, he was scalded to death by the steam."
Stevie was found dead with his hand on the throttle this is significant because that means he was trying to be the hero and his cause of death was the smoke that he inhaled for too long for.
"Did she ever pull in? No, she never pulled in"
She never made it to her destination.
"And at 1:45 he was due, For hours and hours has the switchman been waiting"
The delivery was due at 1:45 but the train never arrived and the railroad worker responsible for operating signals and switches just sat and waited for the arrival.
"For the fast mail that never pulled through."
this is referring to the mail that is supposed to arrive on time or even before the time that it was expected.
"Did she ever pull in? No, she never pulled in, And that poor boy must be dead."
The train never arrived to his destaintion and a little boy is now dead becuase of teh wreck that occured
Oh, yonder he lays on the railroad track, With the cart wheels over his head."
The little boy is laying on the tracks with a wheel from a cart just on his head.
97, she was the fastest train That the South had ever seen
No city, or town has ever seen a train as quick and swift as 97
But she run so fast on that Sunday morning. That the death score was numbered 14.
Fourteen people died on that Sunday Morning
Now, Ladies, you must take warning, from this time now and on
The singer is warning the ladies about something
Never speak harsh words to your true loving husband. He may leave you and never return.
Always be kind and graceful towards the man you love because you might say something you will regret and you may never get the chance to apologize to him.
The plague on site of the wreck
The significance of this song is the story it tells about a crash of a famous train down south. It is the most accurate description what actually happened to the train and to the engineer. The song is considered to be more folk-cultured than anything else. Even though it has been sung and sung by many different artists, the song still has that same impact on the people because the people knows what it means and what occurred on that day.
Poetic Devices: Imagery, Narrating, and Foreshadowing