Saint Peter

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Saint Peter  (1893) 
by Henry Lawson

Now, I think there is a likeness
'Twixt St Peter's life and mine
For he did a lot of trampin'
Long ago in Palestine.
He was "union" when the workers
First began to organise,
And I'm glad that old St Peter
Keeps the gate of Paradise.

When the ancient agitator
And his brothers carried swags,
I've no doubt he very often
Tramped with empty tucker-bags;
And I'm glad he's Heaven's picket,
For I hate explainin' things,
And he'll think a union ticket
Just as good as Whitely King's.

He denied the Saviour's union,
Which was weak of him, no doubt;
But perhaps his feet was blistered
And his boots had given out.
And the bitter storm was rushin'
On the bark and on the slabs,
And a cheerful fire was blazin',
And the hut was full of "scabs".

When I reach the great head-station –
Which is somewhere "off the track" –
I won't want to talk with angels
Who have never been out back ;
They might bother me with offers
Of a banjo – meanin' well –
And a pair of wings to fly with,
When I only want a spell.

I'll just ask for old St Peter,
And I think, when he appears,
I will only have to tell him
That I carried swag for years.
"I've been on the track," I'll tell him,
"an' I done the best I could,"
And he'll understand me better
Than the other angels would.

He won't try to get a chorus
Out of lungs that's worn to rags,
Or to graft the wings on shoulders
That is stiff with humpin' swags.
But I'll rest about the station
Where the work-bell never rings,
Till they blow the final trumpet
And the Great Judge sees to things.

Source[edit]

This work is is in the public domain because it was created in Australia and the term of copyright has expired.

See Australian Copyright Council (ACC), (Duration of Copyright) (February 2012).