Poem: Mary Gilmore by Jim Grahame

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   "A writer wrote of the hearts of men,
      And he followed their tracks afar,
   For his was a spirit that forced his pen
      To write of the things that are."
                          Henry Lawson.

Where the WORKER flounces the mantelpiece
   Or fringes the kitchen shelf,
Where hessian doors hide earthen floors,
   And the crockery-ware is delf,
There lies her book in a sacred nook,
   And it tells of the things that are,
From one seaboard to the next seaboard;
   For the writer has travelled far.

There's a grey-haired widow on Yanko Creek
   And a young wife out on the Bland,
Who feel the strength of the word she wrote
   Like the grip of a helping hand;
They have far more heart for the washing-day,
   More ease on the bright bush-track,
As to and fro' to the creek they go
   And carry the water back.

There are some that trudge with the bullock teams
   When their men go out for wool,
Who have learnt at night and can read and write,
   Though they've never been to school;
But it is not a novel or magazine
   That is most in' the rough brown hand;
Youth turns with age to her thoughtful page
   That they both can understand.

The squatters' wives have their novelettes
   And their stories of Araby,
With a trip to Sydney now and then,
   And a gimpse of the rolling sea;
They give small thought to the rough bush homes
   And the sorrows and pleasures there,
As they ponder the latest fashion notes
   And the dresses their sisters wear.

The women of hut and tent and camp
   Are in Mary Gilmore ken;
For she knows the lives of the bushmen's wives
   As our Lawson knew the men.
The Digger's bride from the other side
   Finds many a line to quote,
And many a homesick heart is cheered
   By the strength of a word she wrote.

First published in The Bulletin, 14 June 1923

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on July 23, 2011 8:21 AM.

Reprint: Mary Gilmore: Australia Old and New by Nettie Palmer was the previous entry in this blog.

Australian Bookcovers #266 - Flying Visits: Postcards from the Observer 1976-83 by Clive James is the next entry in this blog.

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