where are the mates i used to have?
i wonder where they are?
some still wander and some made good
and others travelled far.
some have gathered their gear and gone
to a better land or worse;
their load was heavy, the p-ssing years
is the weight that oldsters curse.
when we were young and the world was wide
and the longest day not hard,
we would joke our way from dawn to dark,
through the mob in the branding yard.
one i remember when i was there,
who helped me in early years,
when i was the b-tt of the stockrail jokes,
he taught me to take the jeers.
in life he didn’t amount to much,
he came from further out.
he was only a lanky coloured lad,
a station rouseabout.
oh, i’ve thanked him often in after life,
for the things he taught me then,
he guided my youth through the stockman’s life
in the hard, tough world of men.
although he didn’t amount to much,
all that he had, he gave.
he was white enough and man enough
to rest in a soldier’s grave.
forgotten by most of the ones he knew
and those of his tribal tree;
the world forgetting, the world forgot
except by mates like me.
so long, old mate from early days
wherever you may be.
may the gr-ss be green and the water good,
from care may your days be free.
i’ve travelled a span of the road of life
and i’ve learned to understand,
through mate-ship the way it was meant to be,
has no colour, creed nor land.