Henry Lawson

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

Beaten Back

BEATEN back in sad dejection,
After years of weary toil
On that burning hot selection
Where the drought has gorged his spoil.

All in vain ’gainst him, the vulture,
I have battled without rest—
In the van of agriculture,
Marching out into the West.

Now the eagle-hawks are feeding
On my perished stock that reek
Where the water-holes receding
Long had left the burning creek.

I must labour without pity—
I the pick and spade must wield
In the streetways of the city
Or upon another’s field!

Can it be my reason’s rocking,
For I feel a burning hate
For the God who, only mocking,
Sent the prayed-for rain too late?

Pour, ye mocking rains, and rattle
On the bare, brown, grassless plain,
On the shrivelled hides of cattle
That shall ne’er want grass again!

Rush, ye yellow floods, to Murray,
Over thirsty creek-banks foam;
And o’er all, ye black clouds, hurry;
Ye can bring not back my home!
267 Total read