Just Like Home

Henry Lawson, 1915

      I got a letter the other day from a scribbling, sketching pal of mine,
      In a foreign country, far away — somewhere out in the firing line.
      It seems the censor won't let them say where they are bearing the battle's brunt,
      So he dates, in the good Australian way, from "Some Old Place at the Blanky Front".

      He says it stinks, and he says it's Hell, and there seems no hope of earthly release:
      But somehow the scream of a passing shell carries him back to the Days of Peace.
      Where the soldiers howl in the camp at night, and the groaning and cursing wounded come,
      He says "it's no use trying to write — it's just like trying to work at home!"

      I wanted to go to the Front myself to write a book on the war of wars,
      To stand on many a learned shelf, and be translated in Helsingfors;
      But I've funked it now, though you need not tell (you never know how the news might roam),
      For I'm perfectly sure that it must be Hell if "it's just like trying to work at home".

      God help the woman! She does not know the glorious heights that our minds can scale —
      The Inspirations that come and go while her life is dead and her home is gaol.
      The Poet and Artist booze and swear, and wander at will 'neath the sunlit dome;
      She must struggle and pinch and be worried there — and no man ever should "work at home".

      First published in The Bulletin, 2 September 1915