Beaten Back

Henry Lawson, 1888

      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!