HENRY LAWSON’S BIRTHDAY

FACES IN THE STREET

They lie, the men who tell us, for reasons of their own,
That want is here a stranger, and that misery’s unknown;
For where the nearest suburb and the city proper meet
My windowsill is level with the faces in the street
Drifting past, drifting past,
To the beat of weary feet
While I sorrow for the owners of the faces in the street.

And cause I have to sorrow, in a land so young and fair,
To see upon those faces stamped with marks of Want and Care;
I look in vain for traces of the fresh and fair and sweet
In sallow, sunken faces that are drifting through the street
Drifting on, drifting on,
To escape the restless feet;
I can sorrow for the owners of the faces in the street.

In hours before the dawning dims the starlight in the sky
The wan and weary faces first begin to trickle by,
Increasing as the moments hurry on with morning feet,
Till like a pallid river flow the faces in the street
Flowing in, flowing in,
To the beat of hurried feet
Ah! I sorrow for the owners of those faces in the street.