Henry Lawson

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

For Australia - Poem by Henry Lawson


Now, with the wars of the world begun, they'll listen to you and me,
Now while the frightened nations run to the arms of democracy,
Now, when our blathering fools are scared, and the years have proved us right –
All unprovided and unprepared, the Outpost of the White!

"Get the people – no matter how," that is the way they rave,
Could a million paupers aid us now, or a tinpot squadron save?
The "loyal" drivel, the blatant boast are as shames that used to be –
Our fight shall be a fight for the coast, with the future for the sea!

We must turn our face to the only track that will take us through the worst –
Cable to charter that we lack, guns and cartridges first,
New machines that will make machines till our factories are complete –
Block the shoddy and Brummagem, pay them with wool and wheat.

Build to-morrow the foundry shed ['tis a task we dare not shirk],
Lay the runs and the engine-bed, and get the gear to work.
Have no fear when we raise the steam in the hurried factory –
We are not lacking in the brains that teem with originality.

Have no fear for the way is clear – we'll shackle the hands of greed –
Every lad is an engineer in his country's hour of need;
Many are brilliant, swift to learn, quick at invention too,
Born inventors whose young hearts burn to show what the South can do!

To show what the South can do, done well, and more than the North can do.
They'll make us the cartridge and make the shell, and the gun to carry true,
Give us the gear and the South is strong - and the docks shall yield us more;
The national arm like the national song comes with the first great war.

Books of science from every land, volumes on gunnery,
Practical teachers we have at hand, masters of chemistry.
Clear young heads that will sift and think in spite of authorities,
And brains that shall leap from invention's brink at the clash of factories.
Still be noble in peace or war, raise the national spirit high;
And this be our watchword for evermore: "For Australia – till we die!"


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Read poems about / on: greed, war, fear, future, work, peace, song, people, sea, world, running, teacher



Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004



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