©Linda Allen 1989

Old town - hobo town
Boats on the river movin' up and down
Movin' kind of slow, but they've got all day
Floatin' slow and easy is the river way

It's a long, lonely way
Gonna make Cathlamet by the end of the day
Roll along, Bide the time
River, rock me easy to the end of the line

Wood shacks - railroad tracks
Clingin' to the banks like a turtle's back
Canneries and mills were the poor man's dream
River was the road 'til nineteen seventeen CHORUS

Tugboats - Big log floats
Barges floatin' low holdin' wheat and oats
When we reach the locks - it could take all day
Don't the river sparkle in the sun today
Instrumental chorus

Night sky - -captain's sigh
Anchored to the river bottom big boats lie
Evenin' closin' in with a thousand stars
One for every soul lost on this river's bar CHORUS

In the Spring I traveled up and down the Columbia River, visiting
Woody Gifford and Otto Oja, my favorite logger poets, and Bill
Murlin of the BPA who told me all about Woody Guthrie's visit
there some fifty years before me. Riverfront towns like
Skamakowa and an evening spent watching the ships anchor for the
night helped shape this song.