Next Door

Henry Lawson, 1915

      Whenever I'm moving my furniture in
             Or shifting my furniture out —
      Which is nearly as often and risky as Sin
             In these days of shifting about —
      There isn't a stretcher, there isn't a stick,
             Nor a mat that belongs to the floor;
      There isn't a pot (Oh, my heart groweth sick!)
             That escapes from the glare of Next Door!
             The Basilisk Glare of Next Door.

      Be it morn, noon or night — be it early or late;
             Be it summer or winter or spring,
      I cannot sneak down just to list at the gate
             For the song that the bottle-ohs sing;
      With some bottles to sell that shall bring me a beer,
             And lead up to one or two more;
      But I feel in my backbone the serpentine sneer,
             And the Basilisk Glare of Next Door.
             The political woman Next Door.

      I really can't say, being no one of note,
             Why she glares at my odds and my ends,
      Excepting, maybe, I'm a frivolous Pote,
             With one or two frivolous friends,
      Who help me to shift and to warm up the house
             For three or four glad hours or more,
      In a suburb that hasn't the soul of a louse;
             And they've got no respect for Next Door!
             They don't give a damn for Next Door.


      The Bulletin, 18 February 1915