In editing the poems, Maisie Earle organised them into 11 sections:
There are also unpublished poems, not included in the book.
From the "Working Life" section:
Oh stranger though ye be here on a foreign shore
Though between ye and your home the oceans wildly roar
You will find a welcome here from hearts as warm and kind
As beat within the breasts of those you've left behind.
Though our hills are rough and wild and our forests wilder still
The wind blows soft and warm from every grass-topped hill
THough your mavis sweetly sang and your lintie carolled too
We have birds in plenty here that will sing their songs to you.
For awhile you're sure to pine for your dear old Scottish home
And I think you'd not have come if this wilderness you'd known
But the day is sure to come when you'll think such thoughts no more
But bless the happy day you saw New Zealand's shore.
Oh your children's with you here your troubles to remove
And him who years gone bye first gained your girlish love
And your grandchildren ere long will be playing round your knee
They will wean your thoughts away from the land far o'er sea
You will learn to love our land ere long with us you'll be
Though our rivers can't compare with your dear old winding Dee
But time will work its part and contentment here you'll learn
You will be as happy here as you were at old Carsphairn
Oh may long and happy days in New Zealand be your lot
May your cup be filled with joys and your troubles be forgot
May you learn to love our land nor seek to leave it more
But in sweet contentment rest on New Zealand's woodclad shore.
Yes the shearing time's approaching, the days are getting long
The sunny showery springtime's on the wane,
I have spent some happy hours in the summers that have gone
More than I think I'm likely to again.
At the shearing on Otairi we were lively everyone
It was like the round of holidays throughout,
Each day brought some excitement, each evening brought some fun
For at shearing time there's lively boys about.
The Dago's men and women were a merry hearted crew
Who would dance and sing or take their whack of beer,
And if we kept the music up, they'd go till all was blue
Although they knew next day we had to shear.
The bosses' sons were lively; they would always take their part
And keep the ball rolling so to speak,
If they seen the fun was flagging, they'd go in with all their heart
For they had no empty pride or false conceit.
But the hand of time is moving bringing other thoughts in mind
The old games now are not considered sport,
Though I can scarcely tell the difference they are just as free and kind
But they go for pleasures of a different sort.
Ah well it's only natural, the restless hand of time
That the mind of man's achanging gives the proof
Maturity and circumstance together does combine
To strangle the frivolities of youth.
But I liked the free and easy, rough and ready sort of style
That prevailed on the old station in the past
When everybody seemed to wear a careless happy smile
And everything like care aside was cast.
But I hope that old Otairi will maintain its prestige still
For free and easy merriment and fun
And real hearty jolly fellows the place be there to fill
Of the absent ones in future days to come.
I hope its present owners may always hold the reins
And hold them too in luxury and ease
For while they do the station hand who of his lot complains
To say it mild, he's very hard to please.
The die is cast, my way is ta'en, I'm launched upon the road
And many a dreary hour is spent beneath life's weary load
For pleasures that have turned to gall, or follies I should say
Have lured me from the proper path and led me far astray.
As I look back o'er misspent years, I scarcely can restrain
My anguished thoughts from bursting forth so great the mental strain
My life seems but a sea of clouds no sunshine in between
How different is the prospect now from boyhood's early dream.
If e'er in desperation wild I try to snatch some joy
I always find it intermixed with false and base alloy
I've run the gauntlet day by day in search of pleasure's goal
And though the heart is beating yet, I think I've killed the soul.
My name is spoke with curled lip, that speaks the open sneer
Such words some few short years ago, would start the ready tear
But friends that's false and selfish too, their words I little heed
You're good when you ought to give, but not when you're in need.
I often think when carping friends speak of my evil ways
How frail humanity so plain the cloven hoof displays
If I were rolling now in wealth my sins would be less plain
And to my faults my friends would give a very different name.
I've met some few since starting life, unselfish warm of heart
But they were poor just like myself and played an equal part
At least although I've called them poor, I do not mean it so
For they were rich in heart and brain though not in outward show.
In my short life by what I've seen the man possessed of wealth
Thinks little of ought in this world's range that centres not in self
But let him have his golden wealth, I envy not his lot
As long as God will grant me health and I thank him that I've got.
So carping friends can harp away and pull dispraising faces
And shout till hoarse with scathing tongue from their high moral places
I care not for their brainless scorn or how with names they pelt me
If starving for the want of bread I'd ask them n ot to help me.
My heart has been in bygone days with deep emotions torn
But the fountains dry and now I can return them scorn for scorn
Most carnal joys have ceased to please, false smiles no pleasure bring
Now when of pleasure I'm in search, I'll look for it within.