The Wantaritencant

A poem by Henry Lawson

It watched me in the cradle laid, and from my boyhood’s home
It glared above my shoulder-blade when I wrote my first “pome”;
It’s sidled by me ever since, with greeny eyes aslant,
It is the thing (O, Priest and Prince!) that wants to write, but can’t.

It yells and slobbers, mows and whines, It follows everywhere;
’Tis gloating on these very lines with red and baleful glare.
It murders friendship, love and truth (It makes the “reader” pant),
It ruins editorial youth, the Wantaritencant.

Its slime is ever on my work, and ever on my name;
No toil nor trouble does It shirk, for It will write, all the same!
It tantalized when great thoughts burned, in trouble and in want;
It makes it hell for all concerned, the Wantaritencant.

And now that I would gladly die, or rest my weary mind,
I cannot rest to think that I must leave the Thing behind.
Its green rot damns the dead, for sure, that greatest curse extant,
’Twill kill Australian literature, the Wantaritencant!

You cannot kill or keep It still, or ease It off a bit;
It talks about Itself until the world believes in It.
It is a Scare, a Fright, a Ghast, a Gibber, and a Rant,
A future Horror and a Past, the Wantaritencant!

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