The Babies in the Bush

Henry Lawson, 1899

      They trotted away from the homestead fair,
      Ere the leaves in the noon-tide drooped —
      They trotted along by the stockyard bare,
      And under the rails they stooped;
      Each chubby brown hand "lest a bad wind blowed"
      Held fast to a sailor hat —
      They had begged to go "where the daisies growed"
      And the buttercups out on the flat.

             Oh, sing me a song of a fairy bright,
             Of a spirit the bell-birds know,
             That guides the feet of the lost aright,
             Or carries them up through the starry night,
             Where the bush-lost babies go.

      We wander away as our fortune needs,
      When our feet are strong to roam;
      But what is the spirit that always leads
      The toddler's feet from home?
      A belt of timber, and, miles beyond,
      The awful scrubs aglow —
      Oh, plead in prayer that it is not there
      That the bush-lost babies go!

      We thought of the tales that the bush can tell,
      As the awful suns went round —
      "And we'll find those babies asleep and well
      As bush-lost babes are found."
      We searched all night and we searched all day,
      We searched thro' the broiling week,
      But never a sign of a baby's foot
      Was found by that lonely creek.

      The mother waits 'neath the noon-tide glare,
      And under the midnight skies,
      Till the wild fixed look of a life's despair
      Comes into her hopeless eyes.
      But the strong man kneels by her side and turns
      Her face from the clearing bare,
      To the stars above, with a husband's love —
      And "Our bush-lost babes are there!"

             And she sings in her heart of a fairy bright,
             Of a spirit the bell-birds know,
             To guide the feet of the lost aright
             And lead them on to a land of light
             Where the bush-lost babies go.

      The Bulletin