Guest poem sent in by Frank O'Shea
(Poem #1568) Past Carin
Now up and down the siding brown The great black crows are flyin, And down below the spur, I know, Another milkers dyin; The crops have withered from the ground, The tanks clay bed is glarin, But from my heart no tear nor sound, For I have gone past carin Past worryin or carin, Past feelin aught or carin; But from my heart no tear nor sound, For I have gone past carin. Through Death and Trouble, turn about, Through hopeless desolation, Through flood and fever, fire and drought, And slavery and starvation; Through childbirth, sickness, hurt, and blight, And nervousness an scarin, Through bein left alone at night, Ive got to be past carin. Past botherin or carin, Past feelin and past carin; Through city cheats and neighbours spite, Ive come to be past carin. Our first child took, in days like these, A cruel week in dyin, All day upon her fathers knees, Or on my poor breast lyin; The tears we shedthe prayers we said Were awful, wilddespairin! Ive pulled three through, and buried two Since thenand Im past carin. Ive grown to be past carin, Past worryin and wearin; Ive pulled three through and buried two Since then, and Im past carin. Twas ten years first, then came the worst, All for a dusty clearin, I thought, I thought my heart would burst When first my man went shearin; Hes drovin in the great North-west, I dont know how hes farin; For I, the one that loved him best, Have grown to be past carin. Ive grown to be past carin Past lookin for or carin; The girl that waited long ago, Has lived to be past carin. My eyes are dry, I cannot cry, Ive got no heart for breakin, But where it was in days gone by, A dull and empty achin. My last boy ran away from me, I know my tempers wearin, But now I only wish to be Beyond all signs of carin. Past wearyin or carin, Past feelin and despairin; And now I only wish to be Beyond all signs of carin.
To join A D Hope today and Eric Bogle's lovely "Now I'm Easy" a few weeks ago, here is another Australian poem. Unlike Bogle's old man, the speaker here is far from "easy" as she looks back on her hard life. Henry Lawson's reputation as a short-story writer has outlasted his fame as a poet, at least among the academics. But today's poem is like a short story in its own right, and anyway people who have never read a short story still read his poetry. You can get a sense of his own bleak outlook as well as his love-hate (mostly hate) relationship with the outback in this poem. I don't know if it is great poetry, but where else can you find such unremitting bleakness so sympathetically portrayed? The strong, determined woman finally beaten by her lot. I'm surprised that you have only two of Lawson's poems in your collection. If you want to find out what Australia was like 100 years ago, it would be hard to beat Lawson. The fact that he was what we might today call "a loser" has in no way changed the affection in which he was then, and still is, held by Australians. Frank O'Shea