When the Children Come Home [poem by Henry Lawson]

[Editor: This poem by Henry Lawson was published in Short Stories in Prose and Verse (1894) and In the Days When the World Was Wide and Other Verses (1896).]

When the Children Come Home

On a lonely selection far out in the west
An old woman works all the day without rest,
And she croons, as she toils ’neath the sky’s glazed dome,
“Sure I’ll keep the ould place till the childre’ come home.”

She mends all the fences, she “grubs,” and she ploughs,
She drives the old horse and she milks all the cows,
And she sings to herself as she thatches the stack,
“Sure I’ll keep the ould place till the childre’ come back.”

It is five weary years since her old husband died,
And oft as he lay on his deathbed he said:
“Sure one man can bring up ten children, he can,
An’ it’s strange that ten sons cannot keep one old man.”

Whenever the scowling old sundowners come,
And cunningly ask “if the master’s at home;”
“Be off,” she replies, “with your blarney and cant,
Or I’ll call my son Andy, he’s workin’ beyant.”

“Git out,” she replies, tho’ she trembles with fear,
For she lives all alone and no neighbors are near;
But she says to herself when she’s like to despond
That the boys are at work in the paddock beyond.

Ah! none of her children need follow the plough,
And some have grown rich in the city ere now;
Yet she says, “they might come when the shearing is done,
And I’ll keep the ould place if it’s only for one.”



Source:
Henry Lawson. Short Stories in Prose and Verse, L. Lawson, Sydney, [1894], pages 83-84

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