Henry Lawson

Gettin Back

When we’ve arrived by boat or rail, and feeling pretty well, And humped our heavy gladstones to the Great Norsouth Hotel; And when we’ve had a wash and brush and changed biled rags for soft And ate a hearty country meal our spirits go aloft! (Damn the city!) When we’ve walked out a mile and back along the old bush track, And dropped into the letter-box our last damned letters back; When we’ve turned in and slept half through the soft white beds all night To start, at daylight toy the coach we’re getting back all right. (Damn the city!) When we have crossed the nearer heights through box and stringy-bark, And traced the newer tree-marked track above the gullies dark; When we begin to ask how far it is to tucker yet Where clear streams whet our appetites we’re getting back, don’t fret. (Damn the city!) We try to draw the driver out (a ‘case’ as like as not), For we don’t know how much he knows, or how much we’ve forgot. And we make bloomers, and the seats seem narrow slippery shelves Until we find he’s just a liar, like ourselves. (Damn the city!) When we can take an interest in all and everything, When we begin to drop the ‘g’ in words that end in ‘ing’, When good old oaths come ‘back again, and we can sleep at night, And eat our fish with knives and forks we’re gettin’ back all right. (Damn the city!) I’m staying at a lake-side home, down here at Nevermind, The small hand ‘separator’ is the only change I find, And there’s a girl with kind grey eyes and hair of reddish gold, And she’s read somewhere in a book that poets don’t grow old. (Damn the city!) She’s twenty-two, I’m forty-three; but, ere the week is done, She’s only in her eighteenth year, and I am twenty-one! I’m younger than the younger men, who can’t be young or won’t She heard that poets don’t grow old and now she knows they don’t. (DAMN THE CITY!) The dandy tourists wonder how the old town had got in The straight young bushmen wonder how that poet bloke could win. But the grand old bush life backed me up, when they were hard to rouse, And I turned out at six o’clock and helped her milk the cows! (DAMN THE CITY!)

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