Two Young Lads

Two young lads, ten and six
carried Dad’s bags down the
lane to the horse drawn tram
running along the main road.
Mum sent him away for he
drank all his wages, left nothing
for his children or new baby.

After his illness the doctor
had prescribed for this fine
husband upstanding church man
that standard remedy, stout
to build up his strength.

Working in that colonial town’s
port office everyone saw his
shame, her humiliation. Now
he would sail the Pacific
on trading ships, die
in a foreign port.

This devout churchwoman
swallowed her pride, went to
the mayoress’ committee for
the indigent, accepted their
charity until her sons’s wages
supported them all though
it stuck in her craw to beg.

Two Young Lads