"Fall In, My Men, Fall In"

Henry Lawson, 1909

      "Fall in, my men, fall in."
                    — Walt Whitman.



      The short hour's halt is ended,
             The red gone from the west,
      The broken wheel is mended,
             And the dead man laid to rest.
      Three days have we retreated
             The brave old Curse-and-Grin —
      Outnumbered and defeated —
             Fall in, my men, fall in.

      Poor weary, hungry sinners,
             Past caring and past fear,
      The camp-fires of the winners
             Are gleaming in the rear.
      Each day their front advances,
             Each day the same old din,
      But freedom holds the chances —
             Fall in, my men, fall in.

      Despair's cold finger searches
             The sky is black ahead,
      We leave in barns and churches
             Our wounded and our dead.
      Through cold and rain and darkness
             And mire that clogs like sin,
      In failure in its starkness —
             Fall in, my men, fall in.

      We go and know not whither,
             Nor see the tracks we go —
      A horseman gaunt shall tell us,
             A rain-veiled light shall show.
      By wood and swamp and mountain,
             The long dark hours begin —
      Before our fresh wounds stiffen —
             Fall in, my men, fall in.

      With old wounds dully aching —
             Fall in, my men, fall in —
      See yonder starlight breaking
             Through rifts where storm clouds thin!
      See yonder cleared sky arching
             The distant range upon?
      I'll plan while we are marching —
             Move on, my men — march on!