Henry Lawson ( )

The Sliprails and the Spur

The colours of the setting sun
Withdrew across the Western land
He raised the sliprails, one by one,
And shot them home with trembling hand;
Her brown hands clungher face grew pale
Ah! quivering chin and eyes that brim!
One quick, fierce kiss across the rail,
And, Good-bye, Mary! Good-bye, Jim!

Oh, he rides hard to race the pain
Who rides from love, who rides from home;
But he rides slowly home again,
Whose heart has learnt to love and roam.
A hand upon the horses mane,
And one foot in the stirrup set,
And, stooping back to kiss again,
With Good-bye, Mary! dont you fret!
When I come backhe laughed for her
We do not know how soon twill be;
Ill whistle as I round the spur
You let the sliprails down for me. 

She gasped for sudden loss of hope,
As, with a backward wave to her,
He cantered down the grassy slope
And swiftly round the darkning spur.
Black-pencilled panels standing high,
And darkness fading into stars,
And blurring fast against the sky,
A faint white form beside the bars. 

And often at the set of sun,
In winter bleak and summer brown,
Shed steal across the little run,
And shyly let the sliprails down.
And listen there when darkness shut
The nearer spur in silence deep;
And when they called her from the hut
Steal home and cry herself to sleep. 

And he rides hard to dull the pain
Who rides from one that loves him best;
And he rides slowly back again,
Whose restless heart must rove for rest.

Henry Lawson's other poems:
  1. Wide Lies Australia
  2. Mount Bukaroo
  3. The Fire at Rosss Farm
  4. To an Old Mate
  5. The League of Nations

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