Henry Lawson

Give yourself a Show: New Year's Eve

Henry Lawson 17 June 1867 - 2 September 1922 was an Australian writer and poet Along with his contemporary Banjo Paterson Lawson is among the best-known Australian poets and fiction writers of the colonial period






TO my fellow sinners all, who, in hope and doubt,
Through the Commonwealth to-night watch the Old Year out,
New Year’s Resolutions are jerry-built I know,
But I want to say to you, “Give yourselves a show”.

You who drink for drinking’s sake, love for lust alone,
Thinking heaven is a myth and the world your own—
Dancing gaily down to hell in the devil’s dance—
This I have to say to you: “Give your souls a chance”.

You who drink because of shame that you think will last,
Or because of wrong done you—trouble in the past—
“Nothing left to live for now,” you will say, I know;
But you have your own self yet, give that self a show!

You who want all things on earth—money, love, and fame
Having the advantage of worldly place or name—
You who have more than you want, even than you know,
In the glorious New Year give someone else a show.

You, the mischief-makers all, who in secret glee
Love to tell the villainies of a scamp like me;
There are things he’ll never tell—things you’ll never know—
Look into your own lives first—give the man a show.

You, the politician, who, for jealousy or gold,
Or for mean ambition, sell, or see your country sold,
Pandering to the hollow crowd, toadying to the low,
For shame’s sake banish selfishness—give your land a show.

© Poetry.com