Now that the warm days approach, a familiar sight along country roadsides will be those youthful manual workers who take obvious pride in displaying strong brown arms and torso clad only in light singlets -- a growing custom among these healthy and vigorous young Australians.
They have made them songs of the brown-shirts, Of the blue, and the black, and the red, Where, passions rife, men play at life As a grim, fierce game of dread. But I make a song for the No-shirts, For a carefree, clean-limbed push Whose youth, whose health is a country's wealth In the broad Australian bush. Lithe arms swinging the axes, Broad chests bare to the sun, By the country track, by the mills out-back Where a stong man's work is done, With their brown young bodies gleaming, These serve in industry As the elder sons once served the guns On far Gallipoli. There's a pride and a joy in the toiling, There's a laugh in the clear young eye, Small hint of the slave in the cheery wave To the proud cars rolling by. And I make this song to the No-shirts As a psalm to their singing health Who toil is done in a quickening sun To garner a country's wealth.
|Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002|