THE WAGONS MOVED ON
Back in the eighteen hundreds
when wagon trains moved west,
folks faced harrowing hardships,
but pushed thru’ to meet the test.
As I read the diaries of those ones
who traveled o’re the land,
I do not see what spurred them on
when death was close at hand.
The worst I think I’ve ever heard
has given me nightmares.
It’s ‘bout the children left behind—
the innocents unaware.
Wagon trains kept a schedule
to cross mountains by late fall,
or be stranded like the Donners,
and hear their Maker’s call.
Each morning when folks rose up,
they did their needed chores,
then women gathered little ones
to place on wagon floors.
But now and then a child was lost,
wandering from the camp,
and wagon masters could not wait
to find the little scamp.
They’d search and search the woodlands,
and walk dry river beds,
but if they couldn’t find the child,
they had to forge ahead.
Now, can you just imagine
how distraught a Mom would be
to leave her precious child behind—
never more to see?
To wonder if he cried for her,
or if animals stalked her child,
or was he taken by a squaw,
or just lost in the wild?
Did he starve, or freeze to death
when nightfall crossed the land
too many days for him to count
tiny fingers on each hand?
I think I’d be half crazy,
I could not move ahead.
I’d rather die in the wilderness
with my dear, lost child instead.