A Song of General Sick and Tiredness

Henry Lawson, 1908

      I'm tired of raving at wrong things which must still to the end endure;
      I'm sick and tired of the selfish rich, and I'm tired of the selfish poor.
      Of the Awful Wrongs of the Social Plan (both sides, and in between) —
      I'm tired of The Bulletin's own Fat Man, and I'm also tired of the Lean.

      'Tis a weariness born of twenty years of 'rastlin' with Truth and Lies,
      And of writing on rum and blood-stained tears, that the People might Wake and Rise!
      I am wild, Damned Wild, at the wages paid for fighting with Freedom's Foes,
      And the awful blunders the people made when at last they Woke and Rose.

      The motor car is the Car of Greed, and I've often written it down
      (With little effect I fear, indeed, for I notice it still in town);
      But now I'm tired of the Goggled Hog, and his veiled contemptuous "dart".
      I am also weary of Boko Bill and his fruit and Bottle-O cart.

      I'm weary of Clara Vere de Vere, and her Bloque at the grand hotel,
      And the Orphan Girl and the Orphan Boy — and their mother and father as well.
      It's not their fault, for extremes are fate (and extremes will meet again) —
      I'm also disgusted with One-eyed Kate and her Bloke in Red Rock Lane.

      My soul is sad for the young bards here who rave of a wrong red-hot,
      And care not a curse, so they get their beer, if the people starve or not.
      With a fine contempt for the grave and the tomb, for the old books on the shelves,
      They gibe and sneer at the old bard's gloom — and they straightway weep themselves.

      I'm tired of the cruel, bleeding welt on the Young Heart Tempest-Tost;
      Likewise of the love that we never felt, and the friend that we never lost.
      I'm tired of the long white limbs, small head, and the eyes of unearthly hue;
      Of the Bride, Rose Red, in her Bridal Bed — and I'm sick of the Other Man, too.

      I'm tired — O I'm tired — of the bleeding heart of the bride that never was wed;
      And the Dagger Drave — and the blood-stained grave of the lover who never was dead;
      Of the wronged young wife, and her blighted life; also of the locket worn
      With the Golden Curl from the Head of the Girl of the Babe that never was born.

      To resume:
      I'm scared of the great strong arms and the breast, and the brute force under control;
      Of the gloomy eyes, and the head, and the rest — and the hidden heart and soul —
      Of the muscle and tan of the awful MAN that our girl bards rave about;
      The first of his kind since the world began — and I want them to trot him out.

      Of the Swooning Love, 'neath the stars (above), and the Slumbrous Burning Eyes;
      Of the Blarst of Skorn from our Bards of Morn, and our girl-bards' DAMN likewise.
      (And let it be said, ere we go to bed, lest you curse me needlessly,
      That I do not moan for these things alone, for I'm also tired of ME.)

      To proceed:
      I'm sick of the sight of the Single White in the islands far away,
      Who is jabbed with a poisoned spear by night, and who pots the tribe next day.
      A club-man dead to the world he knew, and long by his love forgot —
      And the innocent swims with the Lithe Brown Limbs, and — the rest of the Thomas Rot.

      He's mostly a thin brown man in twill and specs (for his sight is dim),
      And a score of niggers to work his will, and Ah Soon to cook for him.
      With the steamer in sight (and a drunken white) and the rest of the world within hail,
      A wife — or the pick of the native girls — and his fairly reg'lar mail.

      And now to conclude:
      I'm tired of the sneering at friendship, too, for you'll find in the end, no doubt,
      When you get run in, and the world looks blue, there'll be one to bail you out —
      I'm tired of the Love of the Bygone Day, of Women and Dice and Wine —
      You'll find, when his Washup has said his say, 'tis the Missus that pays the fine.

      You may shriek to High Heaven of love and death and howl of a Soul in Pain,
      You may curse the Gods with your latest breath till the cows come home again;
      But Dad plods home from his work to-night — in his bosom a peace profound —
      To his bustling wife and his kitchen bright, and he helps the world go round.

      You may write of revolvers, and nerves of steel, and the eyes of a steel-blue grey,
      Of the white man banned, with his life in his hand, in those Islands far away;
      Of his panther limbs and his courage grand, and his deadly aim and true —
      But Bill and Jim with perception dim would call him a Jackaroo.

      You may rave and rave of your fancy loves that go by your fancy names,
      But the bread you eat and the bills you meet are fixed by Lizzie and James.
      You may ode your Gladyses and what not — at the rest let your scorn be hurled,
      But Lucy, and Mary, and Jack, and Fred — O! they are the living world.

      The Bulletin, 10 December 1908, page 26