The Scab’s Dream

Iron Road


Last night I lay a-sleeping
I had an awful dream
I dreamt that I was back again in 1917.

I saw the drivers and firemen
And thought it the greatest sight
To see such a body of workmen
Staying out for their rights.

So I came out on strike with them
But the boss came to me next day
And appointed me a driver
And a rise of four bob a day.

And when I saw my old mates
Men that always lent me a bob,
They turned their heads and whispered,
“He took an old man’s job”
And when I look at my little boy,
So happy, young and gay,
He doesn’t care if I scabbed it
But I wonder will he some day.

Then in my dreams I wander to 1937
My boy has grown to manhood
He is the pick of an Australian Eleven.
He comes to me one evening
With a look I had never seen,
And said: “Dad, what did you do in 1917?”
For a moment I was dumbfounded
He had taken my breath away
Then I answered,
“I stuck to the Government and worked sixteen hours a day”

Not another word was spoken
He left me with bowed-down head
Next morning when I went to his room
I found him lying dead
And there a note was written:
“I love you, dearly dad,
I could not live to be happy
To think I am a son of a scab.”

Then I woke with the consolation
It was only a silly dream
I would give all I possess in this wide, wide world
To live again through seventeen.

(By ‘HJL’ and published in The Railway Issue Jan. 1927)