To Tom Bracken

Henry Lawson, 1894

      The Sunny South at best is hard
      An' cold to Southern writers —
      But oh! it's frozen to the bard
      Amongst the othersiders.

      They hear the song, but not the groan
      Whilst horses they are backin'.
      He asks for bread — they grudge a stone
      When he is dead! Tom Bracken.

      He's left to starve when stony broke,
      To put his trust the Lord on —
      To hang himself, like Barcroft Boake,
      Or shoot himself, like Gordon.

      He's left to battle in the ruck,
      With poverty attacking —
      You should be glad that you have struck
      A softer spot, Tom Bracken!

      Oh! had you tracked where Kendall trod
      I think you would be kneelin'
      Three times a week and thankin' God
      That you are of New Zealan'!
      For this I'll say, to make it short,
      An' keep my tongue from clackin',
      The people are a kinder sort
      You're singin' for, Tom Bracken.


      The Worker