Kiddies' Land

Henry Lawson, 1915

      The street is old and built of stone —
      And other things beside;
      And though in length it's very short,
      The roadway's fairly wide.
      Our street is blind and at the top
      Are "Grounds" where gnarled trees stand,
      Like gnomes against the evening sky —
      Down here in Kiddies' Land.

      Our street is an asphated street,
      And when the school-day's done,
      You hear the sounds of little feet,
      And little go-carts run;
      And at the bottom, by the Bay,
      Are strips of scrubby sand
      And grass where children love to play —
      Down here in Kiddies' Land.

      And still with war and thoughts of war
      Their little souls are vexed —
      The Allies of the day before
      Are enemies the next.
      They charge with pop-guns and with sticks,
      Retreat, and make a stand —
      They imitate our grown up tricks,
      Down here in Kiddies' Land.

      Our street, it hath a lolly shop,
      As you'll have guessed before;
      Where every hard old "lollie-pop"
      Is new-named from the War.
      It buys their empty bottles, too;
      And so, you'll understand
      The kids are a commercial crew,
      Down here in Kiddies' Land

      And all the little sunflowers
      That in my garden grow,
      Are nodding to each other,
      And talking soft and low;
      They're holding mothers' meetings,
      As you might understand,
      While all the children are at play,
      Down here in Kiddies' Land.

      And when the honours of War and Trade,
      Of Peace and Strife, are sped,
      And all the working mothers of ou street
      Call kiddies home to bed;
      The branches moving in the breeze,
      While the stars are shining grand,
      Seem Some Things in the gnarled old trees,
      That watch o'er Kiddies' Land.

      Editor's note: This poem is set in Euroka Street, North Sydney, where Henry Lawson once lived.