Henry Lawson

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

Bound for the Lord-Knows-Where

'Where are you going with your horse and bike,
And the townsfolk still at rest?
Where are you going, with your swag and pack,
And the night still in the West?
Your clothes are worn, and your cheques are gone,
But your eyes are free from care?”
“We’re bushmen down for a spree in town,
And we’re bound for the Lord-knows-where,
Old chap—we’re bound for the Lord-knows-where.”

(There are great dark scrubs in the Lord-knows-where,
Where they fight it out alone,
There are wide wide plains in the Lord-knows-where,
Where a man’s soul is his own.
There is healthy work, there is healthy rest,
There is peace from self-torture there,
And the glorious freedom from paltriness!
And they’re bound for the Lord-knows-where.)

“Now, where are you going in your Sunday suit,
And a bag for your second best?
Now where are you going with your chest of tools,
And the old togs in the chest?
With your six clean shirts and a pound of ‘weed’,
And enough for a third-class fare?”
“Oh! I’ll be afloat by the very next boat,
And I’m bound for the Lord-knows-where,
Old chap—I’m bound for the Lord-knows-where.”

(There are wide wide seas to the Lord-knows-where,
Where a man might have a spell,
The things turn up in the Lord-knows-where that
We waited for too well.
There’s a stranger land in the Lord-knows-where,
And a show for the stranger there.
There is war and quake more work to make,
And he’s bound for the Lord-knows-where.)

“Now where are you going with your Gladstone bag,
With your shirt-case and valise?
Now where are you going with your cap and shoes,
And your looks of joyful peace?
Now where are you going with your money belts,
And your drafts on the first bank there?”
“’We have made a hit,’ or ‘we’ve made a bit,’
And we’re bound for the Lord-knows-where,
Old chap—we’re bound for the Lord-knows-where.”

(There are sinful ports in the Lord-knows-where,
There are marvellous sights to see,
There are high old games in the Lord-knows-where,
That were known to you and me.
There is love and music, and life and light from
The Heads to “Lester” Square,
There is more than space for their high young hearts
There is safety or danger there,
And they’ll come back wild, or they’ll come back tamed
When they’ve been to the Lord-knows-where.)

“Now where am I going with my whisky flask,
And with little else beside?
Now where am I going with my second shirt,
To wear while the first is dried?
I have marred my name, and I’ve lost my fame,
But my hope’s in good repair.
There are lies about, there are warrants out—
And I’m bound for the Lord-knows-where,
Old Chap—and I’m bound for the Lord-knows-where.”

(There’s a rise and fall of the sloping decks,
That is good for a soul in pain;
There’s the drowsy rest on the sunlight sea
Till your strength comes back again.
Oh, the wild mad spirit is hypnotized,
And nerves are tranquil there,
And the past is hushed in forgetfulness,
On the road to the Lord-knows-where.)

Submitted: Monday, March 29, 2010

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