Saint Peter

Henry Lawson, 1893

      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.