But What's the Use

Henry Lawson, 1895

      But what's the use of writing 'bush' —
             Though editors demand it —
      For city folk, and farming folk,
             Can never understand it.
      They're blind to what the bushman sees
             The best with eyes shut tightest,
      Out where the sun is hottest and
             The stars are most and brightest.

      The crows at sunrise flopping round
             Where some poor life has run down;
      The pair of emus trotting from
             The lonely tank at sundown,
      Their snaky heads well up, and eyes
             Well out for man's manoeuvres,
      And feathers bobbing round behind
             Like fringes round improvers.

      The swagman tramping 'cross the plain;
             Good Lord, there's nothing sadder,
      Except the dog that slopes behind
             His master like a shadder;
      The turkey-tail to scare the flies,
             The water-bag and billy;
      The nose-bag getting cruel light,
             The traveller getting silly.

      The plain that seems to Jackaroos
             Like gently sloping rises,
      The shrubs and tufts that's miles away
             But magnified in sizes;
      The track that seems arisen up
             Or else seems gently slopin',
      And just a hint of kangaroos
             Way out across the open.

      The joy and hope the swagman feels
             Returning, after shearing,
      Or after six months' tramp Out Back,
             He strikes the final clearing.
      His weary spirit breathes again,
             His aching legs seem limber
      When to the East across the plain
             He spots the Darling Timber!

      But what's the use of writing 'bush' —
             Though editors demand it —
      For city folk and cockatoos,
             They do not understand it.
      They're blind to what the whaler sees
             The best with eyes shut tightest,
      Out where Australia's widest, and
             The stars are most and brightest.