My Land and I by Henry Lawson

They have eaten their fill at your tables spread,
Like friends since the land was won;
And they rise with a cry of "Australia's dead!"
With the wheeze of "Australia's done!"
Oh, the theme is stale, but they tell the tale
(How the weak old tale will keep!)
Like the crows that croak on a splintered rail,
That have gorged on a rotten sheep.

I would sing a song in your darkest hour
In your darkest hour and mine –
For I see the dawn of your wealth and power,
And I see your bright star shine.
The little men yelp and the little men lie,
And they spread the lies afar;
But we heed them never, my Land and I,
For we know how small they are.

They know you not in a paltry town –
In the streets where great hopes die –
Oh, heart that never a flood could drown,
And never a drought could dry!
Stand forth from the rim where the red sun dips,
Strong son of the land's own son –
With the grin of grit on your drought-chapped lips
And say, is your country done?

Stand forth from the land where the sunset dies,
By the desolate lonely shed,
With the smile of faith in your blighted eyes,
And say, is your country dead?
They see no future, they know no past –
The parasite cur and clown,
Who talk of ruin and death to last
When a man or a land is down.

God sends for answer the rain, the rain,
And away on the western lease,
The limitless plain grows green again,
And the fattening stock increase.
We'll lock your rivers, my land, my land,
Dig lakes on the furthest run –
While down in the corners where houses stand,
They drivel, "Australia's done!"

The parasites dine at your tables spread
(As my enemies did at mine),
And they croak and gurgle, "Australia's dead"
While they guzzle Australian wine.
But we heed them never, my land, my land,
For we know how small they are,
And we see the signs of a future grand,
As we gaze on a rising star.

by Henry Lawson

Other poems by 'Henry Lawson'

If you fancy that your people came of better stock than mine

The Rhyme of the Three Greybeards

Here Died

The Roaring Days

The Things We Dare Not Tell

After All

In the Street

Andy's Gone With Cattle

Faces In The Street

Out Back

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