The Windy Hills o' Wellington

Henry Lawson, 1894

      The windy hills of Wellington were black and cold that night,
      The rain came down at times enough to drown the 'lectric light;
      An' like a hymn of hate an' want from black misfortune's choirs
      I heard the cruel, spiteful wind go snarling through the wires,
      An' from the winches by the wharf a rattle and a clank,
      While sitting by a Sydney chum who'd drawn New Zealand blank!

      He'd sent for me in all the land the only chum he knew,
      His health and hope and cash were gone — and he was going too.
      His frame was shrunk, and his face was drawn, his eyes were bleared and dim,
      For drink and poverty and want had done their work for him;
      And when I came, he turned to me, his features pale an' lank —
      "I'm glad you've come, old chum," he said, "I've drawn New Zealand blank!"

      "'New leaf, new land', my motto was — I did my very best.
      'Twas want of work that threw me back — an' liquor did the rest.
      But nothing matters now, old man — it never did, no doubt —
      (Excuse a little nonsense when a fellow's peggin' out).
      I'd live and fight if I had hope or money at the bank;
      I've lived too long in '94, I've drawn New Zealand blank."

      I looked out through the window as the rain came pelting down;
      The great black hills they seemed to close and loom above the town.
      And in a strained and tired voice, that filled my heart with pain,
      He said, "Old man, I'd like to stroll down George Street once again.
      I had myself to `battle' for; I've got myself to thank.
      Perhaps it ain't New Zealand's fault I've drawn New Zealand blank."

      The breezy hills of Wellington are fair as they can be.
      I stand and watch a Sydney boat go sailing out to sea.
      And while the sun is setting low on blue and brown and green,
      I think of cruel things that are, and things that might have been,
      And while the same old sun goes down in clouds a golden bank,
      I sadly think of my old chum who drew New Zealand blank.

      No headstone marks his resting-place — no autumn grasses wave,
      And not a sign of loving hands is seen above his grave;
      For he recovered from the spree — the doctors pulled him through;
      His health came back and his luck turned (and so did my luck, too).
      He now has houses, land and shares, and thousands in the bank;
      He doesn't know me now, because — I've drawn New Zealand blank.

      New Zealand Times