Henry Lawson

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

The Motor Car


The motor car is sullen, like a thing that should not be;
The motor car is master of Smart Society.
’Twas born of sweated genius and collared by a clown;
’Twas planned by Retribution to ride its riders down.
And straight for Caesar’s Column,
It runs to Caesar’s Column,
Last section, Caesar’s Column
To ride its riders down!

The motor car is shame-struck, for greed and misery,
For mad and hopeless self-lust, and the sins that need not be.
The motor car is vicious, for its conscience makes it so,
It aye would smash the victims while it runs the riders low.
And straight for Caesar’s Column,
Its goal is Caesar’s Column,
It longs for Caesar’s Column
To lay its riders low.

The motor car is maddened like a horse that’s had a fright,
The shameful day behind it and the Coming of the Night!
It flees across the country and it flees back to the town
And straight for Caesar’s Column to run its riders down.
And straight for Caesar’s Column,
What ho! for Caesar’s Column!
Hurrah! for Caesar’s Column!
To seal its riders down.

The motor car is reckless like a gambler losing fast;
The motor car’s in terror of the Future—and the Past;
The motor car is worn out and has passed Sin’s boundary by,
And is bound for Caesar’s Column where to pile its riders high.
It’s bound for Caesar’s Column
And marked for Caesar’s Column,
And doomed for Caesar’s Column
To pile its riders high.

The motor car is brainless, and scornful of all tears,
Its dust is in our faces, its giggle in our ears,
Its harsh laugh is the last laugh of the last lost soul alone,
’Tis nearing Caesar’s Column to set self-damned in stone.
Change here for Caesar’s Column!
All out for Caesar’s Column!
Past Hope—and Caesar’s Column
To lodge self-damned in stone.

I don’t know how ’twill happen, or when ’twill come to pass,
But folk shall yet pass sanely by river, tree and grass;
By homesteads and farm wagons, they’ll ride each pleasant mile,
And back from Caesar’s Column where the world went mad awhile.
And back from Caesar’s Column
With lessons from the Column;
Grown sane at Caesar’s Column
To save the world awhile.

Submitted: Friday, March 26, 2010

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