The Way I Treated Father

Henry Lawson, 1891

      I worked with father in the bush
             At splitting rails and palings.
      He never was unkind to me,
             Although he "had his failings:"
      And now his grave is old and green,
             And now at times I'm rather
      Inclined to think 'twas very mean
             The way I treated father.
      The mother had for years been dead,
             And Dad and I and Stumpy
      Were living in a little shed —
             What bushmen call a humpy;
      And now I think when day began,
             And it was cold and chilly,
      'Twas mean to see a grey old man
             Get up and boil the billy.
      And though my lazy limbs were stiff;
             And though 'twas winter weather.
      And though my eyes were shut as if
             The lids were glued together,
      I think 'twas mean to lie in bed;
             I think that I was silly,
      Because I growled if father said,
             "Git up and bile the billy!"
      I didn't help the cooking much
             For I was always "tired" —
      'Twas strange that I could eat with such
             An appetite as I had;
      But now I mind I never growled
             When father shouted, "Willie!
      It's gittin' on for dinnertime;
             Go home and bile the hilly."
      His grave is growing old and green
             And things have altered rather;
      But still I think 'twas mighty mean
             The way I treated father.
      He left a tidy sum to me,
             But I'd give all the money
      To hear him say, "Will you get up
             And bile the billy, Sonny?"