Henry Lawson

(17 June 1867 – 2 September 1922 / Grenfell, New South Wales)

Knockin' Around


Weary old wife, with the bucket and cow,
‘How’s your son Jack? and where is he now?’
Haggard old eyes that turn to the west—
‘Boys will be boys, and he’s gone with the rest!’
Grief without tears and grief without sound;
‘Somewhere up-country he’s knocking around.’
Knocking around with a vagabond crew,
Does for himself what a mother would do;
Maybe in trouble and maybe hard-up,
Maybe in want of a bite or a sup;
Dead of the fever, or lost in the drought,
Lonely old mother! he’s knocking about.

Wiry old man at the tail of the plough,
‘Heard of Jack lately? and where is he now?’
Pauses a moment his forehead to wipe,
Drops the rope reins while he feels for his pipe,
Scratches his grey head in sorrow or doubt:
‘Somewheers or others he’s knocking about.’

Knocking about on the runs of the West,
Holding his own with the worst and the best
Breaking in horses and risking his neck,
Droving or shearing and making a cheque;
Straight as a sapling—six-foot and sound,
Jack is all right when he’s knocking around

Submitted: Friday, March 26, 2010

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