Henry Lawson

17 June 1867 – 2 September 1922 / Grenfell, New South Wales

When Your Sins Come Home To Roost

When you fear the barber’s mirror when you go to get a crop,
Or in sorrow every morning comb your hair across the top:
When you titivate and do the little things you never used—
It is close upon the season when your sins come home to roost.

Many were the sins of others and you never were to blame,
Some were sins you shared in common—you must suffer all the same;
Some were sins of wasted hours with the wine cup or a mate,
But you cannot share the burden—and they come in duplicate.

Oh! you’ll find the fowls are heavy and their claws are sharp and deep—
They will bow your head in working, they will jerk you from your sleep,
And so many hands are eager just to give your back a boost
On the road to wreck and ruin when your sins come home to roost.

But you don’t let on they’re roosting and you take some only way,
And you never whine or guzzle and you neither curse nor pray;
You will never for an instant let your lower lip be loosed—
But you stand up like a soldier when your sins come home to roost!

And you’ll find them growing lighter till you find room for a few
Of the sins of other mortals who have weaker souls than you:
Then you’ll smile, and not too sadly, at old sins reintroduced—
And you’ll be a man in many when your sins come home to roost.
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