The Southerly Buster

A poem by Henry Lawson

There's a wind that blows out of the South in the drought,
And we pray for the touch of his breath
When siroccos come forth from the North-West and North,
Or in dead calms of fever and death.
With eyes glad and dim we should sing him a hymn,
For depression and death are his foes,
And he gives us new life for the bread-winning strife,
When the glorious Old Southerly blows.

Old Southerly Buster! your forces you muster
Where seldom a wind bloweth twice,
And your ‘white-caps’ have hint of the snow caps, and glint of
The far-away barriers of ice.
No wind the wide sea on can sing such a poean
Or do the great work that you do;
Our own wind and only, from seas wild and lonely,
Old Southerly Buster!, To you!

Oh, the city is baked, and its thirst is unslaked,
Though it swallows iced drinks by the score,
And the blurred sky is low and the air seems aglow
As if breezes would cool it no more.
We are watching all hands where the Post Office stands,
We are watching out hopefully too,
For a red light shall glower from the Post Office tower
When the Southerly Buster is due.

The yachts run away at the end of the day
From the breakers commencing to comb,
For a few he may swamp in the health-giving romp
With the friendly Old Southerly home.
But he never drowns one, for the drowning is done
By the fools, or the reckless in sport;
And the alleys and slums shall be cooled when he comes
With the weary wind-jammers to port.

Oh softly he plays through the city’s hot ways
To the beds where they’re calling ‘Come quick!’
He is gentle and mild round the feverish child,
And he cools the hot brow of the sick.
Clearing drought-hazy skies, up the North Coast he hies
Till the mouths of our rivers are fair,
And along the sea, too, he has good work to do,
For he takes the old timber-tubs there.

’Tis a glorious mission, Old Sydney’s Physician!
Broom, Bucket, and Cloth of the East,
’Tis a breeze and a sprayer that answers our prayer,
And it’s free to the greatest and least.
The red-lamp’s a warning to drought and its scorning,
A sign to the city at large,
Hence! Headache and Worry! Despondency hurry!
Old Southerly Buster’s in charge

Old Southerly Buster! your forces you muster
Where seldom a wind bloweth twice,
And your ‘white-caps’ have hint of the snow caps, and glint of
The far-away barriers of ice.
No wind the wide sea on can sing such a poean
Or do the great work that you do;
Our own wind and only, from seas wild and lonely,
Old Southerly Buster!, To you!

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