The Heart Of The Swag

A poem by Henry Lawson

Oh, the track through the scrub groweth ever more dreary,
And lower and lower his grey head doth bow;
For the swagman is old and the swagman is weary,
He’s been tramping for over a century now.
He tramps in a worn-out old “side spring” and “blucher,”
His hat is a ruin, his coat is a rag,
And he carries forever, far into the future,
The key of his life in the core of his swag.

There are old-fashioned portraits of girls who are grannies,
There are tresses of dark hair whose owner’s are grey;
There are faded old letters from Marys and Annies,
And Toms, Dicks, and Harrys, dead many a day.
There are broken-heart secrets and bitter-heart reasons,
They are sewn in a canvas or calico bag,
And wrapped up in oilskin through dark rainy seasons,
And he carries them safe in the core of his swag.

There are letters that should have been burnt in the past time,
For he reads them alone, and a devil it brings;
There were farewells that should have been said for the last time,
For, forever and ever the love for her springs.
But he keeps them all precious, and keeps them in order,
And no matter to man how his footsteps may drag,
There’s a friend who will find, when he crosses the Border,
That the Heart of the Man’s in the Heart of his swag.

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