Poems, Stories and Personal Accounts

by Arthur H. Buckley

"Yardage! Yardage!" cries the Major
"Give me yardage for the dam!"

"Yardage! Yardage!" yells the Captain
"or we'll soon be in a jam!"

Down the line the message travels
through the whole field personnel

till the word comes to the dredges
"Major's up there raisin' hell."

Says the Skipper to his runner
"Mate, the boss is in a funk."

"We've got to have more yardage...
give us yardage or we're sunk."

So the engineers and oilers,
every member of the crew,

down the line clean to the strikers
tries to see what he can do.

On the Jefferson, Missouri,
Madison and Gallatin...

"Yardage! Yardage!" is the watchword
as the cutter heads dig in.

Skulls of buffalo, long buried,
catfish, logs, and mud and sand

rattle through the pumps and pipelines...
Yardage is the fill's demand.

Roots and rocks may slow the pumps down,
leaks develop, parts give way

but the dredges and the boosters
must keep going night and day.

So the fill keeps rising upward
as the mud comes pouring in

and the watchword, "Yardage! Yardage!"
rises high above the din.

"Yardage! Yardage!" cries the Major
as he winks at Uncle Sam

and the Captain echos "Yardage!"
we must speed up this old dam!

©1/2002 by Arthur H. Buckley/Diane B. Pile