Henry Lawson ( )

The Professional Wanderer

When youve knocked about the countrybeen away from home for years; 
When the past, by distance softened, nearly fills your eyes with tears 
You are haunted oft, wherever or however you may roam, 
By a fancy that you ought to go and see the folks at home. 
You forget the family quarrelslittle things that used to jar 
And you think of how theyll worryhow they wonder where you are; 
You will think you served them badly, and your own part youll condemn, 
And it strikes you that youll surely be a novelty to them, 
For your voice has somewhat altered, and your face has somewhat changed 
And your views of men and matters over wider fields have ranged. 
Then its time to save your money, or to watch it (how it goes!); 
Then its time to get a Gladstone and a decent suit of clothes; 
Then its time to practise daily with a hair-brush and a comb, 
Till you drop in unexpected on the folks and friends at home. 
When youve been at home for some time, and the noveltys worn off, 
And old chums no longer court you, and your friends begin to scoff; 
When the girls no longer kiss you, crying Jack! how you have changed! 
When youre stale to your relations, and their manner seems estranged ; 
When the old domestic quarrels, round the table thrice a day, 
Make it too much like the old timesmake you wish youd stayed away, 
When, in short, youve spent your money in the fulness of your heart, 
And your clothes are getting shabby . . . Then its high time to depart.

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

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