Song of the Slum-Woman by Nina Murdoch

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The baby and the rubbish-tin are huddled side by side,
I'm gettin' through the washin', and the yard is not too wide;
'N' when you come to think of it, it doesn't seem quite square,
For the baby 'n' the rubbish-tin to sit together there.

Of course there's room enough for 'im to play upon the street
(Next door but one a kid got crush beneath an 'orse's feet);
'E sits quite good 'n' quiet, 'n' 'e never starts to whine
Till 'is eyes get sort of achy with the flappin' on the line.

There is 'Ospitals for Women, 'n' there's Infants 'Omes as well,
'N' the Walker Convalescent you can rest in for a spell.
It'd be a deal sight cheaper than the nurse, 'n' bed, 'n' ward
If the Council 'd provide us with a decent-sized backyard.

For there's Billy down with fever, 'n' there's Janie got sore eyes,
'N' Hector, though 'e's turned fifteen, 'e isn't any size.
Yet they fill us up with Charity in 'Ospitals 'n all!
Won't anybody tell 'em they're against a bloomin' wall?

If they's start from the beginnin' like, with rentals on the square,
'N' pull these rotten houses down, 'n' 'elp us get fresh air,
If they'd see we got conveniences -- not much, just what we need --
Why they'd have both feet on sickness, 'fore it 'ad the chance to breed!
But the baby and the rubbish-tin are huddled side by side,
I'm gettin' through the washin' and the yard is not too wide.
There's the Parliament 'n' Premier 'n' the grand Lord Mayor, too --
It kind o' sets you wond'rin' what they all intend to do!

First published in The Bulletin, 7 October 1915

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on October 7, 2011 6:40 AM.

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