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Cameron's Heart

Rating: 3.0

The diggings were just in their glory when Alister Cameron came,
With recommendations, he told me, from friends and a parson `at hame';
He read me his recommendations -- he called them a part of his plant --
The first one was signed by an Elder, the other by Cameron's aunt.
The meenister called him `ungodly -- a stray frae the fauld o' the Lord',
And his aunt set him down as a spendthrift, `a rebel at hame and abroad'.

He got drunk now and then and he gambled (such heroes are often the same);
That's all they could say in connection with Alister Cameron's name.
He was straight and he stuck to his country
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Ian Fraser 29 April 2009
Henry Lawson is (or should be) Australia's national poet. Like most of that nation he follows his own route in an upside down sort of way and there is nothing in this poem that is remotely 'poetic', or is there? 'He felt in his bosom the smart'? 'the Finger of Death on his heart'. How is it that these phrases come across as gutwrenching and real rather than the platitudes they might otherwise seem? How is it that the poet's feeling for his dead comrade comes across as genuine and real love and respect? Because Lawson, like the comsummate artist that he is (though he would undoubtedly have denied the phrase) , has softened us up with a torrent of commonplace colloquialisms that leave us begging for something in a higher register. Lawson knows this never lets go of the strict form he has chosen for this oddly moving little epic, just so we don't forget what literature.really is. There is a strong debt to Kipling, but a very individual voice.
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