[Editor: This poem by T.A. Wilson was published in The Bulletin Reciter, 1901.]
Don’t Let the Moth Get In!
I overhauled an overcoat of mine the other day,
In the blazing months of summer it was brushed and laid away ;
But the nipping nights of autumn spoke of winter coming fast,
And hints of frost and sleet were borne upon the shivering blast.
The garment long had stood the test of bleak and bitter weather,
But now it lay before me and its threads scarce clung together ;
With many a hole in breast and back, with nap and fur grown thin,
It told of cold times coming — I had let the moth get in!
There’s a moth, my fellow-trav’ler, on the rugged road of care,
And its food is human weakness, and its name is black Despair !
But the man who claims to manhood, be his sorrow what it may.
He will boldly face the demon, and await a better day.
Times are bad ? Aye, well we know it, but each true man has his goal:
Can he fight misfortune better when the rust is in his soul ?
Show your pluck, my suffering brother ! though your coat is poor and thin.
Square your chest, and laugh at Fortune — and don’t let the moth get in !
There are some worse off than you are — though the pious turn away,
Though your old friends do not know you — well, you ’re better off than they !
If to-night you ’re smoking tea-leaves, and your bed is the Domain,
Shake the dews off in the morning : up, and breast the world again !
Ere the dawning, night is darkest, I have heard old proverbs say ;
So we’ll keep our muscles moving, and be ready for the day,
And be thankful, while we suffered, that we bore it with a grin,
And while our clothes were shabby, kept the moth from getting in !
T. A. Wilson.
A.G. Stephens (editor). The Bulletin Reciter: A Collection of Verses for Recitation from “The Bulletin” [1880-1901], The Bulletin Newspaper Company, Sydney, 1902 [first published 1901], pages 110-111