Grey Wolves Grey

A poem by Henry Lawson

The Russian march is soft and slow,
Through dust and heat, or slush and snow,
When the Russian skies hang grey and low
To the frontiers far where the Russians go;
And they march to-night and they march to-day
Like the grey wolves grey, like the grey wolves grey.
Nor song nor sound their track reveals,
Save the ceaseless “clock” of the waggon wheels;
But a rift in the mist shows a glint of sun
On the long, dark shape of a toiling gun;
And they strain by night and they drag by day
To a distant goal, like the grey wolves grey.

As the horses toil at the ends of trains,
And the ends of roads on the Blacksoil Plains.
And Ivan digs in the frozen clay,
And he rolls the logs a bed to lay
For a gun that’s five hundred miles away,
But as sure to come as the grey wolves grey.

He is marching on with a purpose grand,
For brother Slav in another land;
Whose tongue, perchance, he cannot understand.,
But he knows the cry from the far-away,
And he smells the blood like the grey wolves grey.

And Ivan’s wife in her den at home,
While hunger looms and his lean wolves come,
With her grey-black bread like the Darling mud,
And her tea-bricks bound with the bullock’s blood,
She shields her cubs by night and day
Like the crouching sluts of the grey wolves grey.

And I march with Ivan where’er he be,
With the foreign blood that is strong in me,
And the love and the hate that is fantasy,
Like the ghosts of a father’s memory.
With the blood that is strange to us to-day
As the strange wild blood of the grey wolves grey.
Grey wolves,
Grey wolves,
The strange wild blood of the grey wolves grey.

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