Note: This is meant as a sequel to Neil Young’s song “Powderfinger,” written from the point of view of the gunboat.
We were steaming up the big river
the captain said that he had a fever
and the humidity had him in thrall
all because the rain refused to fall.
Around the bend, the map
it showed a town
A sleepy port
but rebel trouble
makes the smallest town a fort.
From the railing I spied
a traitor (so they say)
but I feel I can know him better…
I think about the heat of the sun
and get behind the big gun
and I pull on the trigger
the gunpowder is black
on my finger.
I watch the dock complain
as my bullets rain…
I see the figure as he makes his move
he takes aim, he’s got something to prove
but the red blood explodes
from his head
and he lies there dead.
My finger is faster today
and the ship banks away
The captain cries that the heat
is making him faint –
“Get a move on, son”
miles of river await.