Welcome to Poetry.com

Poetry.com is a huge collection of poems from famous and amateur poets from around the world — collaboratively published by a community of authors and contributing editors.

Navigate through our poetry database by subjects, alphabetically or simply search by keywords. You can submit a new poem, discuss and rate existing work, listen to poems using voice pronunciation and even translate pieces to many common and not-so-common languages.

Rate this poem:(0.00 / 0 votes)

To Show What a Man Can Do

Henry Lawson 1867 (Grenfell) – 1922 (Sydney)

There has been many a grander deed since man had life to give,
And thousands have gone to certain death, eyes open, that men might live;
And many have gone for their country’s sake, when their numbers were all too few,
And bravely died that their mates may die—to show what a man can do.

Now this is the song of La Bella wreck at the harbour of Warnambool,
And this is the song of a brave, brave man of the grand old simple school:
We all know the forces of circumstance, and we blame not the lifeboat crew—
But this is the song of a fisherman who showed what a man can do.

With a single scull in his strong young hands, and his brave young eyes aglow,
He shot his skill o’er the raging hell, where the lifeboat dared not go!
It was twice and thrice that he went again, and the lives they were only two—
But this is the song of The Man Who Knows, and can show what a man can do.

And we need such deeds in this world of ours, lest the hearts of men might fail—
Oh we need such deeds in this world of ours, and a man to tell the tale!
When the eloquent gestures come from the wreck, and never a word comes through—
Oh, we need such deeds in our land to-day to show what a man can do!

And this is the moral of all that is,
And it’s only known to two
Put out in your dinghy with confidence,
To show what a man can do.

Font size:
Collection  Edit     

Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:21 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

FAVORITE (1 fan)

Discuss this Henry Lawson poem with the community:



    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:


    "To Show What a Man Can Do" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 26 Jul 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/18159/to-show-what-a-man-can-do>.

    Become a member!

    Join our community of poets and poetry lovers to share your work and offer feedback and encouragement to writers all over the world!

    Browse Poetry.com


    Are you a poetry master?

    A haiku has ________ lines.
    • A. 3
    • B. 2
    • C. 5
    • D. 4

    Our favorite collection of

    Famous Poets