Henry Lawson

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

Broken Axletree - Poem by Henry Lawson

On the Track of Grand Endeavour, on the long track out to Bourke,
Past the Turn-Back, and past Howlong, and the pub at Sudden Jerk,
Past old Bullock-Yoke and Bog Flat, and the “Pinch” at Stick-to-me,
Lies the camp that we have christened—christened “Broken Axletree.”
We were young and strong and fearless, we had not seen Mount Despair,
And the West was to be conquered, and we meant to do our share;
We were far away from cities, and were fairly off the spree
When we camped at Cart Wheel River with a broken axletree.

Oh, the pub at Devil’s Crossing! and the woman that he sent!
And the hell for which we bartered horse and trap and “traps” and tent!
And the black “Since Then”—the chances that we never more may see—
Ah! the two lives that were ruined for a broken axletree!

“Fate” is but a Cart Wheel River, placed to test us by the Lord,
And the Star of Live Forever shines beyond At Blacksmith’s Ford!
Shun all fatalists and “isms”—heed no talk of “destiny”!
Ride a race for life to Blacksmith’s with your broken axletree.


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Poem Submitted: Monday, March 29, 2010



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