The Old Hat

I was taking a walk one day by a creek
just out in the bush for a stroll
when I found by the track an old battered hat
all curled up and left in a roll

I looked at the brim, all tattered and torn
I looked at the crown full of holes
I saw some old burn marks around at the back
from jumping red campfire coals

I wondered who wore out the tattered old thing
why they left it out here in the end
Were they sorry to leave it alone by the track
was it somehow like leaving a friend?

I straightened it out as best as I could
and knocked off the dust from the top
I wanted to try it for fit and for size
but something I felt made me stop

And inside the headband I found an old note
all scribbled and rumpled and torn
It told of the owner alone in his grave
and asked that the hat not be worn

The battered old hat had done its job well
it had sheltered from heat and from rain
its working life over it needed to rest
so I set it back down once again

As I walked off alone I saw in my mind
the hat and its owner out west
droving the cattle or shearing the sheep
or riding alone on a crest

I smiled at the thoughts that had come to my mind
I was turning, about to walk on
when I twisted around for one final look
but I found that the old hat had gone

Maybe its owner had missed his old mate
that he valued in life like a friend
just maybe somewhere out there to the west
they were riding the range land again

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