Childhood Spirit

Written by: Lindsay Laurie

From the kitchen sink at the window sill,
I see a house on the distant hill,
When as a child I had time to kill,
Where now my spirit wanders still.
Then life changed on a day that’s dire,
We choked on smoke and could see the fire…
That hillside died from that burning pyre,
Now it’s uniform green, and squared by wire.
So childhood spirit of years gone by,
Stick to your guns and never die.
Take me beyond where the youngsters ply,
Where the woodlands grew, and so did I.

We fed our chooks on the table scraps,
Snared wild rabbits in rabbit traps,
Lemonade was brought with screwed in caps,
And our old farm dog just yaps and yaps
Till we let him off, “Way back!” was said,
And the cattle moved to the milking shed.
Cans were filled and the calves were fed,
Hay was stored for the months ahead.
So childhood spirit of years gone by,
Stick to your guns and never die,
Those years on the land got us by,
Where the farm was small and so was I.

Ti-tree’s gone where the swamp frogs sang,
No circle of fear from the black snake fang,
Hawthorn’s cleared so there’s no Gang-Gang,
It’s deathly quiet where the Bellbirds rang,
There’s no defence from the progress pack,
Now bitumen lies on the old dirt track,
The gums are cleared and they can’t grow back,
The red brick forest to me looks black.
So childhood spirit of years gone by,
Stick to your guns and never die,
Remember the bush and the filtered sky,
Where the world’s at peace and so was I.

The evening smell from the baker’s bread,
And two-up played in the old pub shed,
The hawker’s bell on his horse named Ned,
Sinkers made from the scraps of lead.
Then something died with the whistle shrill,
When no steam trains came down Red Hill,
Where I picked up their black coal spill,
For our old wood stove in the winter chill.
So childhood spirit of years gone by,
Stick to your guns and never die,
If your feeling lost and you don’t know why,
Please comfort me, for so do I.

To pioneer ghosts who led the way,
I followed you but I find today,
We’ve come too far, now I sadly say,
That the land will finally make us pay,
Our water’s gray that flows through here,
Top soil drains from the hills we clear,
But the young one’s vision now is to steer,
A warmer heart to this land so dear.
So childhood spirit of years gone by,
Stick to your guns and never die,
If you feel there’s a need to cry,
Shed your tears through my glistened eye.