Backblock Ballads and Later Verses/The Homeward Track
The Homeward Track
Once a year we lumber southward with the clip from Yarradee;
Spell the bullocks in the township while we run our yearly spree.
What's a bullocky to live for? Days of toil are hard and long;
And you'd not begrudge him yearly one short week of wine and song.
While it lasts he asks no better. When it's over, "Yoke 'em up"
And we'll make another promise to reject the brimming cup.
When we've done our little cheque in, and the township's at our back,
Then we start to think of mending—out along the Homeward Track.
For there comes a time of reck'ning when we're trudging by the team;
Back again to work and worry; kind of waking from a dream;
We begin to see the folly of a week of wicked fun,
Bought with months of weary slaving, punching bullocks on the run.
But our views are somewhat tempered when we've done a twelve months' drouth;
And our thoughts ain't so religious when the team is heading south.
When the pleasure is before us, work and worry at our back,
We forget the grim reformers out along the Homeward Track.
What's the odds? It's got to happen. What we've done we'll do again;
And we know it while we make 'em, resolutions are in vain.
Life's a weary track to travel, mostly full of ruts and stumps:
Those who spend their days in drudging have to take their joy in lumps.
Yoke 'em up an' get a move on! Gayest times must have an end,
There's a weary track to travel when you've nothing left to spend.
If there's still a bob we'll wet it, and a last glad joke we'll crack,
Time enough for vain regretting when we're on the Homeward Track.