Bone weary and beat and with aching sore feet
his frame slumped through the door from the street.
The clothes on his back showed he’d come off the track
and his face was all burnt from the heat.
“Might hotter this year?” I said pouring a beer
while he lit up his pipe with a match.
He made a reply which I did not deny
for the content was more than I’d catch.
With glass in his hand he decided to stand
but then chose a stool close to the door.
Content just to stare at the folk all out there;
he had things on his mind, that’s for sure.
‘Twas then that the widow we all knew as Flo
took a turn as she shuffled on by.
The stranger caught sight of the old lady’s plight
and he feared the poor dear she might die.
A graze on her cheek had left Flo feeling weak,
so the stranger was nursing her head.”
“Who can we let know?” asked the stranger of Flo
but it seemed all her fam’ly were dead.
“I once had a son,” was how old Flo begun,
“he was two when the tragedy struck.
My husband, old Jack, he had built us a shack
‘cause for months we had lived in our truck.
“Poor Jack was asleep and was snoring quite deep
while my son was at play in the cot.
It seems that our cat knocked the lantern that sat
on the table and up went the lot.
I ran for our child though the fire raged wild;
my dear Jack he was burnt in his bed.
My burns were so bad that they took the wee lad
and I guess they all figured me dead.
For months I lay there under hospital care
and my son he was given away.
The scars that I bare are not skin deep my dear
it’s not seeing my son to this day.
The last thing I saw was his left hand burnt raw,
and that nightmare it sticks in my mind.”
Then Flo bent to look at the hand that she held;
‘twas the strangers left hand and you know.
Flo could not believe, ‘twas too hard to perceive
she had seen that left hand years ago.
The skin was all scarred, the hand callused and hard
and her eyes to the stranger were cast.
Flo knew straight away that she’d found him this day,
her lost son was back home at long last.
From the Book, Laughter and Tears from the Bush.