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But What's The Use

Henry Lawson 1867 (Grenfell) – 1922 (Sydney)

But what’s the use of writing ‘bush’—
Though editors demand it—
For city folk, and farming folk,
Can never understand it.
They’re blind to what the bushman sees
The best with eyes shut tightest,
Out where the sun is hottest and
The stars are most and brightest.
The crows at sunrise flopping round
Where some poor life has run down;
The pair of emus trotting from
The lonely tank at sundown,
Their snaky heads well up, and eyes
Well out for man’s manoeuvres,
And feathers bobbing round behind
Like fringes round improvers.

The swagman tramping ’cross the plain;
Good Lord, there’s nothing sadder,
Except the dog that slopes behind
His master like a shadder;
The turkey-tail to scare the flies,
The water-bag and billy;
The nose-bag getting cruel light,
The traveller getting silly.

The plain that seems to Jackaroos
Like gently sloping rises,
The shrubs and tufts that’s miles away
But magnified in sizes;
The track that seems arisen up
Or else seems gently slopin’,
And just a hint of kangaroos
Way out across the open.

The joy and hope the swagman feels
Returning, after shearing,
Or after six months’ tramp Out Back,
He strikes the final clearing.
His weary spirit breathes again,
His aching legs seem limber
When to the East across the plain
He spots the Darling Timber!

But what’s the use of writing ‘bush’—
Though editors demand it—
For city folk and cockatoos,
They do not understand it.
They’re blind to what the whaler sees
The best with eyes shut tightest,
Out where Australia’s widest, and
The stars are most and brightest.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:20 min read

Henry Lawson

Henry Lawson 17 June 1867 - 2 September 1922 was an Australian writer and poet Along with his contemporary Banjo Paterson Lawson is among the best-known Australian poets and fiction writers of the colonial period more…

All Henry Lawson poems | Henry Lawson Books

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