What Have We All Forgotten?

A poem by Henry Lawson

What have we all forgotten, at the break of the seventh year?
With a nation born to the ages and a Bad Time borne on its bier!
Public robbing, and lying that death cannot erase,
“Private” strife and deception, Cover the bad dead face!
Drinking, gambling and madness, Cover and bear it away,
But what have we all forgotten at the dawn of the seventh day?

These are the years of plenty, years when the “tanks” are full,
Stacked by the lonely sidings mountains of wheat and wool.
Country crowds to the city, healthy, shaven and dressed,
Clothes to wear with the gayest, money to spend with the best.
Grand are the lights of the cities, carnival kings in power,
But what have we all forgotten, in this, the eleventh hour?

“We” have brought the states together, a land to the lands new born.
We have worked in the glorious weather, we have garnered and reaped and shorn.
We have come from the grass-waves flowing under Heaven’s electric lamps
(Making of sordid cities, boyish and jovial camps).
“We” have cleansed the cities and townships: we rest and frolic and gain,
But what have we all forgotten? Did we send the peace and the rain?

What have we all forgotten, here in our glorious home?
(I the greater the sinner because I was greater than some.)
What have we all forgotten so widely from east to west?
(I, and the most ungrateful because I was doubly blessed.)
Sinners to self and to country! and saviours though misunderstood!
Let us all kneel for one moment and thank the Great Spirits for Good.

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