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GerryM Mudcat Australia/NZ Songbook (987* d) RE: Rise Up Mudcat Songbook - Australia 26 Dec 20

This Henry Lawson poem was mentioned upthread (18 Aug 20 08:53 PM) but I thought we should also have the words here:

Do you think that I do not know
Henry Lawson

They say that I never have written of love, as a writer of songs should do.
They say that I never could touch the strings with a touch that is firm and true.
They say I know nothing of women and men in the fields where Love's roses grow.
I must write, they say, with a halting pen do you think that I do not know?

My love-burst came, like an English Spring, in days when our hair was brown.
And the hem of her skirt was a sacred thing, and her hair was an angel's crown.
The shock when another man touched her arm, where the dancers sat in a row.
The hope, the despair, and the false alarm do you think that I do not know?

By the arbour lights on the western farms, you remember the question put,
While you held her warm in your quivering arms, and you trembled from head to foot.
The electric shock from her finger-tips, and the murmuring answer low,
The soft, shy yielding of warm red lips do you think that I do not know?

She was buried at Brighton, where Gordon sleeps, when I was a world away,
And the sad old garden its secret keeps, for nobody knows to-day.
She left a message for me to read, where the wild wide oceans flow.
Do you know how the heart of a man can bleed? Do you think that I do not know?

I stood by the grave where the dead girl lies, when the sunlit scenes were fair,
Neath white clouds high in the autumn skies, and I answered the message there.
But the haunting words of the dead to me shall go wherever I go.
She lives in the Marriage that Might Have Been do you think that I do not know?


There are (at least) two outstanding musical settings for this poem. One is by Slim Dusty, as recorded here by Priscilla Herdman. The other is by Chris Kempster. It was recorded by Declan Affley. I can't find that online, but there's nothing wrong with this recording of Chris Kempster's setting by Martyn Wyndham-Read.

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