Relieve the Loading

For the necessary time,

the rope carried the New York wound.

The river and the tall gallant were joined.

A traveler stretched on a day in August.

Farrington–the master mechanic of Niagara–

set out to show that it was easy if you only thought so.


He shot the traveler,

while a million people craned their necks,

from the streets, and docks,

and housetops, and boats along the river,

and swallowed hard at their hearts.


The cannon tore the air,

the multitudes yelled

that Greater New York was the way.


The above poem is a slightly modified, redacted poem derived from Outspinning the Spider: The Story of Wire and Wire Rope by John Kimberly Mumford. Below is the original text with redaction markings. Click to expand.

Relieve the Loading

Dreams of the Trail

I begin to hike South, happy to be back on the trail

I get on a bus which is to shuttle me into town — a town I remember vividly

As we drive, I see Munchies sitting on the dock of a lake — it is sunset

On the bus, I see a large dog that I had lost some time earlier

But I was not me, I was someone else — a trail friend of mine

The dog’s name is Birch — he is seated at the front of the bus

The bus is full of other hikers, eager to get into town

When I enter at a door behind the dog, I call to him

He runs toward me and pushes me down the aisle in a loving embrace

We stop, I exit along with a female hiker and enter the hostel

As we enter, I realize that Birch is dead, and he was not my dog, but the girl’s

I open the door and ask her about Birch — where do we put him? what do we do with him?

She says we just keep moving along, there is nothing to do — he is the second dog she’s lost

We enter the hostel, and no one else from the bus follows — I don’t know where they went

I attempt to pay for me and the girl, but fumble with my payment, dropping it several times

I find myself sitting on a bed with her, but she has changed

She looks like the girl I love, but she is from the trail, and she speaks with a foreign accent

She lays me down and with her eyes she tells me it will never work

“You have a sole-less foot and a bony soul,” she tells me

Or was it a “soul-less foot, and a bony sole?” I won’t ever know

She is beautiful, with short, light hair and a slight German accent

But now she is gone, along with my dreams of the trail