The Low Lighthouse

Henry Lawson, 1921

      I think if you've lived the average life,
      And been fair to everyone,
      'Twill matter little what you have done
      Or what you have left undone
      When you sail by the South West Cape of Life
      Where the baffling West Winds blow,
      By the reefs of Doubt that run far out
      To a Lighthouse sadly low,

      The low Lighthouse,
      The low Lighthouse,
      To a Lighthouse sadly low.

      But 'twill matter a lot the brave, wise words,
      The words that you left unsaid —
      The kind, forgiving, repentant words
      That you can't say when you're dead;
      How many hearts, and one, they'd help
      You'll surely never know,
      Till your pride has died when the waves break wide
      Out there by the Lighthouse low,

      By the low Lighthouse,
      The low Lighthouse,
      By the Lighthouse sadly low

      Those poor, pale ghosts of the Wish-we-had
      Shall haunt while the Home Fires burn —
      The kindly letters we always should
      Have answered by return.
      Oh, we meant to write and we meant to write
      Till it is (or seems) too late —
      There's a mail ashore where the breakers roar,
      Ere you pass through the South-West Gate.

      By the low Lighthouse,
      The low Lighthouse,
      By the Lighthouse sadly low

      There were "straight wire" scrawls from the good old mate
      And the mate that I never met;
      Perhaps in an outback hell they wait,
      For a line from the "inside" yet;
      And I lie and think in Hospital here
      With aching limbs and brow
      How she begged for a sign, if only a line —
      And I wish I could write it now.

      Near the low Lighthouse,
      The low Lighthouse,
      Down here near the Lighthouse low.

      No business to press, but we "lose the address",
      Or pleasure — and then we forget
      Till a dark day of rain finds us searching in vain
      For his or for her address. Yet
      I'm back from death and I feel the breath
      Of a glorious East Wind blow,
      And I'll do my bit to make up for it
      When we've weathered the Lighthouse low.

      The low Lighthouse,
      The low Lighthouse,
      When I've rounded the Lighthouse low


      The Bulletin, 17 November 1921