Henry Lawson

(17 June 1867 – 2 September 1922 / Grenfell, New South Wales)

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Faces In The Street

They lie, the men who tell us in a loud decisive tone
That want is here a stranger, and that misery's unknown;
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  • Peter Stavropoulos (10/3/2013 11:18:00 PM)

    “Oh, my ways are strange ways and new ways and
    old ways, And deep ways and steep ways and high ways and low, I’m at home and at
    ease on a track that I know not, And restless and lost on a road that I
    know” – Henry Lawson (Report) Reply

  • Liliana ~el (10/3/2013 6:09:00 PM)

    Quite interesting. Liked the repetition giving the poem unity. Describing the reality of the people starving, unemployed, and without shelter. Really enjoyed the turn this account took with the spirit of revolution! with rhythm, energy ablaze, and continuing beat; great contrast for this piece. (Report) Reply

  • Charlotte Gunther (10/3/2013 7:33:00 AM)

    i wondered why the poet spent the whole day in his room assigning gloom and doom to all those faces. He didn't know anything about anyone. didn't he have a job, too? guess not. but he had an agenda.
    nice poem though. i like the rhythm. (Report) Reply

  • Deci Hernandez (10/3/2012 3:25:00 PM)

    Delilah pleads for custom at the corner of the street
    Ah mammon's slaves
    (The first couplet in the last stanza)

    True stories repeated and repeated and repeated in our history (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (10/3/2012 1:07:00 PM)

    Lawson's Red Revolution brought a state of misery far more than that of 19th century England, and it added a terror that was absent from that era. He might also have looked up the French revolution as an awful example of what happens when a state collapses. Luckily England had WWII and WWI to deflect the discontent (and killing many of the discontented) , but it was also a society much more ready to solve the problems of the Industrial Revolution. But had either of those wars been lost there might well have been a revolution in England. (Report) Reply

  • Herman Chiu (10/3/2009 8:30:00 PM)

    Great poem, with an important message about what we are turning ourselves into.
    But Mr. Harmon, I don't fully agree with you. I do not believe money is the root of all evil, as money is an object on its own, which we cannot blame for any of our problems (except when we need more of it) . If the problem lies in us, then we should fix it; not say that currency, which we invented, is at source of our problems. After all, what is money but a number - a representation for what we think something is worth so that humans can easily understand it? (Report) Reply

  • Guybrush Threepwood (10/3/2009 5:22:00 PM)

    Michael Harmon, I agree 100%; the future does look extremely bleak. But it's our job to work to change that perceived future, no?

    Anyway, I know this is kind of a stretch, but would you say that the length of it lends to its message; the idea of the unending grind and the slogging nature of it? I know that's a bit strange to suggest, that an artist would make something intentionally boring, but it's a thought. I like it, personally. (Report) Reply

  • Michael Harmon (10/3/2009 1:16:00 PM)

    On topic: though it is a bit long-winded (ie. too long) , the poem has a good heart.

    Off topic: I believed thirty-seven years ago (when I was twenty) that the proverb, 'money (or the desire for it) is the root of all evil', was true. I still believe it; nothing in all these years has shown me otherwise. Until we grow up as a species, the so-called 'free market system' is all we can look forward to; from that perspective, the future looks rather bleak. (Report) Reply

  • Guybrush Threepwood (10/3/2009 10:30:00 AM)

    Actually, it took World War II. Many, if not most, of the programs setup during the Great Depression in response to the business exploitation in the 1920s ended up widening that divide. Programs like the WPA and NIRA took more money out of the poor and middle class's hands than it gave. The NIRA especially did some damage in that it destroyed competition by allowing the few larger corporations in any given industry set standard prices, and basically make codes for how their particular industry was going to sell its product. They did a lot of damage and that's why many of FDR's provisions ended up being voted unconstitutional-they weren't good for the country.

    Don't get me wrong, by the by, the free market system needs a lot of work. Corporations, just like the government or the church, when given too much freedom and too much power have shown that they have no qualms with raping us.

    On topic: Good poem. Really captures the trapped feeling, the hopelessness of a people pressed under the thumb of an economy they have little say in. (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (10/3/2009 4:32:00 AM)

    This poem expresses the horror many felt at the grinding poverty millions of people in rich capitalist countries suffered in the 19th and early 20th centuries.Which horror led many of them to espouse communist philosophies. A fine controlled worthy poem, I feel, regardless of its poltiical sympathies. Alas Lawson's question 'would the apathy of wealthy men endure
    Were all their windows level with the faces of the Poor? ' was answered by most of those wealthy men with a shameful 'yes'. It took government action to restore a reasonable balance between them and the starving poor (who were often starving even when in work) . (Report) Reply

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