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.