This evocative poem was written and published in the year of Henry Lawson’s death, 1922. It was probably Henry’s last poem.
On the Night Train
by Henry Lawson
HAVE you seen the bush by moonlight, from the train, go running by?
Blackened log and stump and sapling, ghostly trees all dead and dry;
Here a patch of glassy water; there a glimpse of mystic sky?
Have you heard the still voice calling — yet so warm, and yet so cold:
“I’m the Mother-Bush that bore you! Come to me when you are old”?
Did you see the Bush below you sweeping darkly to the Range,
All unchanged and all unchanging, yet so very old and strange!
While you thought in softened anger of the things that did estrange?
(Did you hear the Bush a‑calling, when your heart was young and bold:
“I’m the Mother-Bush that nursed you; come to me when you are old”?)
In the cutting or the tunnel, out of sight of stock or shed,
Did you hear the grey Bush calling from the pine-ridge overhead:
“You have seen the seas and cities — all is cold to you, or dead —
All seems done and all seems told, but the grey-light turns to gold!
I’m the Mother-Bush that loves you — come to me now you are old”?