Only a Sod


“A party of Irish immigrants arrived at a Melbourne wharf the other day. The first thing one of them, a young man, did was to open his box and take out a hard-baked sod which he gave to an old woman (evidently the mother of some of them), who received them on the wharf. She kissed it and ‘blessed herself’. It was part and parcel with the grand ould sod to which her heartstrings clung.”
— Melbourne Newspaper.

Henry Lawson

IT’S only a sod, but ’twill break me ould heart
    Nigh hardened wid toilin’ and carin’,
And make the ould wounds in it tingle and smart.
It’s only a sod, but it’s parcel and part
    Of strugglin’, sufferin’ Erin.

It’s only a sod, but it rakes the ould pain —
    The ould love in me heart that still lingers,
That Time has been soothing and docth’ring in vain;
And now he must soothe it and heal it again
    Wid his kindly and gentle ould fingers.

It’s only a sod, but I see a big ship
    Through the gallopin’ waters come tearin’,
And a lass that looks back on the horizon dip,
Wid eyes full of tears and a thrimblin’ lip,
    On the last that she saw of ould Erin.

It’s only a sod, but wid care it will keep
    Till me brooms and me brushes are silint
Put it into me arms ere they bury me deep,
And tell them old Biddy the “slavey” does sleep
    ’Neath a sod from the bogs of ould Irlint.

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