July 20, 1893
The story of Peter Rigosi which inspired
the lyrics the "Locomotive"
The complete article is:
THE STEAM ENGINE
I don't know what he looked like, not even what was his name,
the way he used to talk, the way he used to sing,
how old he was then, the color of his hair,
but in my fantasy I carry his image,
heroes are all young and handsome.
However, I know the time of the events, what was his occupation:
the first years of the century, engine driver, railwayman,
the time when the holy war of the underdogs was starting off,
the train itself looked like a myth of progress
flung over the continents.
And the locomotive looked like a strange monster
that man dominated with his thought and his hand,
it covered distances that seemed infinite with a roar
it seemed to have a tremendous power inside,
the same power of dynamite.
Another powerful force was then also spreading its wings,
words saying "men are all equal",
and against kings and tyrants, in the street
the proletarian bomb exploded, and the air was lit by
the torch of anarchy.
A train used to pass every day by his station,
a luxury train, with a far-off destination,
he used to see revered people, think of those velvets and jewellery,
think of the meagre day of his people around him,
think of a train full of lords.
I don't know what happened, why he took the decision,
perhaps an old rage, nameless generations
that cried out for vengeance, blinded his heart,
he forgot pity, he forgot his goodness,
the steam engine was his bomb.
The locomotive was standing on the track,
the throbbing engine looked like a living being
it looked like a young colt just let off the bit,
biting the rail with steel muscles,
with blind force of lightning.
On a day like any other, perhaps just angrier than before,
he thought he had a chance to rectify some wrongs,
he mounted the sleeping monster, he tried to get rid of his fear
and before he thought about what he was doing,
the monster was devouring the plain.
The other train was running unaware, as if in no hurry
nobody imagined to be going towards a revenge
but at the Bologna station the news arrived in a flash:
emergency bulletin, act urgently,
a madman threw himself against the train.
Meanwhile the locomotive runs runs runs
and the steam whistles, it looks like a living being
and the whistle spreading in the air seems to tell to the stooping peasants:
brother don't be afraid, as I am running to my duty,
may the proletarian justice triumph.
Meanwhile it runs runs runs faster and faster
and runs runs runs runs towards death
and nothing can now hold back that immense destructive force
he only awaits the crash, then let
the great consoler's mantle come.
History tells us how the run ended up,
the engine switched to a dead-end track,
with its last animal cry the engine erupted lapilli and lava,
exploded against the sky, then the smoke drew its veil,
when they picked him up he was still breathing.
However, we like to imagine him still at his seat,
driving away his steam engine,
and may we one day receive again the news
of a locomotive like a living being,
thrown like a bomb against injustice.
in other languages: http://www.prato.linux.it/~lmasetti/antiwarsongs/canzone.php?id=1557&lang=it
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