Will Yer Write It Down For Me? by Henry Lawson

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In the parlour of the shanty where the lives have all gone wrong,
When a singer or reciter gives a story or a song,
Where the poet's heart is speaking to their hearts in every line,
Till the hardest curse and blubber at the thoughts of Auld Lang Syne;
Then a boozer lurches forward with an oath for all disguise --
Prayers and curses in his soul, and tears and liquor in his eyes --
Grasps the singer or reciter with a death-grip by the hand:
"That's the truth, bloke! Sling it at 'em! Oh! Gorbli'me, that was grand!
Don't mind me; I've got 'em. You know! What's yer name, bloke! Don't yer see?
Who's the bloke what wrote the po'try? Will yer write it down fer me?"

And the backblocks' bard goes through it, ever seeking as he goes
For the line of least resistance to the hearts of men he knows;
And he tracks their hearts in mateship, and he tracks them out alone --
Seeking for the power to sway them, till he finds it in his own,
Feels what they feel, loves what they love, learns to hate what they condemn,
Takes his pen in tears and triumph, and he writes it down for them.

First published in The Bulletin, 3 January 1903;
and later in:
When I was King and Other Verses by Henry Lawson, 1905;
Humorous Verses by Henry Lawson, 1941;
The Collins Book of Australian Poetry compiled by Rodney Hall, 1981; and
A Fantasy of Man: Henry Lawson Complete Works 1901-1922 edited by Leonard Cronin, 1984.

Author: Henry Lawson (1867-1922) vies with "Banjo" Paterson for the title of Best Known Australian Poet.  Prolific, both as a poet and short story writer, Lawson battled poverty, deafness and alcoholism for most of his adult life, finally dying destitute at the age of 55.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library, The Poetry of Henry Lawson website

See also.

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