Henry Lawson

poems:

21

to an old friend

Old Mate! In the gusty old weather, when our hopes and our troubles were new, in the years spent in wearing out leather, I found you unselfish and true — I have gathered these verses together for the sake of our friendship and you. You may think for awhile, and with reason, though still with a kindly regret, that I've left it full late in the season to prove I remember you yet; But you'll never judge me by their treason who profit by friends — and forget. I remember, Old Man, I remember — the tracks that we followed are clear — the jovial last nights of December, the solemn first days of the year, long tramps through the clearings and timber, short partings on platform and pier. I can still feel the spirit that bore us, and often the old stars will shine — I remember the last spree in chorus for the sake of that other Lang Syne, when the tracks lay divided before us, your path through the future and mine. Through the frost-wind that cut like whip-lashes, through the ever-blind haze of the drought — and in fancy at times by the flashes of light in the darkness of doubt — I have followed the tent poles and ashes of camps that we moved further out. You will find in these pages a trace of that side of our past which was bright, and recognise sometimes the face of a friend who has dropped out of sight — I send them along in the place of the letters I promised to write.

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