Poem: The Poet's Kiss by Henry Lawson (Part 1)

A comedy -- a tragedy --
   A broken head, or egg --
And some of us would laugh to see
   A blind man's wooden leg.
So much that seemeth sad is gay --
   That seemeth weal is woe --
That, till it's sung, I cannot say
   If this song's sad or no.

Her freckled face was small and sweet,
   Her large grey eyes were sad;
Through cold and slush, and dust and heat,
   She slaved to help her dad.
By ridges brooding ever now,
   And gullies deep and dark,
She milked the everlasting cow
   Out there at Stringybark.

It was a fearsome life indeed,
   That few might understand;
Her only pleasure was to read
   The poets of the land --
The songs of drovers far away,
   Of love, and city strife;
And Men that Might Have Been -- 'twas they
   Who brightened her young life.

And when the evening milk was set,
   And poddy calves were fed,
And when she'd cooked what she could get
   For Dad and Tom and Ted,
And when she'd penned the calves and bought
   The morning's firewood in,
She had a rest (as so she ought)
   And read THE BULLETIN.

There was a bard who sang the Bush,
   The ocean wide and wild,
The bushmen and the city push --
   She'd read him when a child:
He sang of Hope and grim despair,
   Of backs bent to the rod,
Of fights for freedom everywhere,
   And -- oh! he was her god.

He sang of gaunt bushwomen slaves,
   Of bush girls sad and lone;
Of broken hearts and lonely graves
   (Of others' and his own);
He sang of many a noble deed,
   And many an act of grace:
And, all her life, since she could read,
   She'd longed to see his face.

First published in The Bulletin, 13 May 1909
[The second part of this poem will be published next week.]

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 14, 2009 6:56 AM.

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