It came belching black smoke down the river
The sound of grinding gears and splashing paddle-wheels
Scared the horses along its banks.
Locomotion on the water sans sail or oar,
Fulton smiling through a face of soot.
“The damned thing works!”
What may have been seen as a minor invention
Of little practical importance except as an oddity,
the businessman (of course) came in and figured out
How to make a buck off of the unusual.
Before you knew it, the steamships became so numerous
That the Appalachian mountains were being leveled for
The fuel to make them go.
Oceans became lakes and goods travelled twenty thousand miles
Without needing a passport.
Earth suddenly began to become a smaller thing,
The mystery of distance no longer mysterious.
The millions of immigrants sent on steamships built nations
And nations built steamships
And steamships conquered the world.