(Henry Lawson)






The Wander-Light


And they heard the tent-poles clatter, 
And the fly in twain was torn  
Tis the soiled rag of a tatter 
Of the tent where I was born. 
And what matters it, I wonder? 
Brick or stone or calico?  
Or a bush you were born under, 
When it happened long ago? 

And my beds were camp beds and tramp beds and damp beds, 
And my beds were dry beds on drought-stricken ground, 
Hard beds and soft beds, and wide beds and narrow  
For my beds were strange beds the wide world round. 

And the old hag seemed to ponder 
(Twas my mother told me so), 
And she said that I would wander 
Where but few would think to go. 
He will fly the haunts of tailors, 
He will cross the ocean wide, 
For his fathers, they were sailors 
All on his good fathers side. 

Behind me, before me, Oh! my roads are stormy 
The thunder of skies and the seas sullen sound, 
The coaster or liner, the English or foreign, 
The state-room or steerage the wide world round. 

And the old hag she seemed troubled 
As she bent above the bed, 
He will dream things and hell see things 
To come true when he is dead. 
He will see things all too plainly, 
And his fellows will deride, 
For his mothers they were gipsies 
All on his good mothers side. 

And my dreams are strange dreams, are day dreams, are grey dreams, 
And my dreams are wild dreams, and old dreams and new; 
They haunt me and daunt me with fears of the morrow  
My brothers they doubt me  but my dreams come true. 

And so I was born of fathers 
From where ice-bound harbours are 
Men whose strong limbs never rested 
And whose blue eyes saw afar. 
Till, for gold, one left the ocean, 
Seeking over plain and hill; 
And so I was born of mothers 
Whose deep minds were never still. 

I rest not, tis best not, the world is a wide one 
And, caged for an hour, I pace to and fro; 
I see things and dree things and plan while Im sleeping, 
I wander for ever and dream as I go. 

I have stood by Table Mountain 
On the Lion at Capetown, 
And I watched the sunset fading 
From the roads that I marked down, 
And I looked out with my brothers 
From the heights behind Bombay, 
Gazing north and west and eastward, 
Over roads Ill tread some day. 

For my ways are strange ways and new ways and old ways, 
And deep ways and steep ways and high ways and low; 
Im at home and at ease on a track that I know not, 
And restless and lost on a road that I know.




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