The Professional Wanderer

A poem by Henry Lawson

When you’ve knocked about the country, been away from home for years;
When the past, by distance softened, nearly fills your eyes with tears,
You are haunted oft, wherever or however you may roam,
By a fancy that you ought to go and see the folks at home.
You forget the family quarrels, little things that used to jar,
And you think of how they’ll worry, how they wonder where you are;
You will think you served them badly, and your own part you’ll condemn,
And it strikes you that you’ll surely be a novelty to them,
For your voice has somewhat altered, and your face has somewhat changed,
And your views of men and matters over wider fields have ranged.
Then it’s time to save your money, or to watch it (how it goes!);
Then it’s time to get a ‘Gladstone’ and a decent suit of clothes;
Then it’s time to practise daily with a hair-brush and a comb,
Till you drop in unexpected on the folks and friends at home.
When you’ve been at home for some time, and the novelty’s worn off,
And old chums no longer court you, and your friends begin to scoff;
When ‘the girls’ no longer kiss you, crying ‘Jack! how you have changed!’
When you’re stale to your relations, and their manner seems estranged ;
When the old domestic quarrels, round the table thrice a day,
Make it too much like the old times, make you wish you’d stayed away,
When, in short, you’ve spent your money in the fulness of your heart,
And your clothes are getting shabby . . . Then it’s high time to depart.

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