For Australia

The Peace Maker

Henry Lawson

IT HAS a “point” of neither sex
    But comes in guise of both,
And, doubly dangerous complex,
    It is a thing to loathe—
A lady with her sweet, sad smile,
    A gentleman on oath.

Strip off the mother-veil, and fur!
    And signs of “quiet taste”.
The dead child’s locket take from her
    (The dead man’s gift in haste)
And wash from every evil line
    The layers of filling paste!

From “saddened eyes” the hell’s own glare!
    From “sweet mouth” blasphemy!
Wrench out the gold-filled false teeth there
    That twice mock honesty,
And leave the evil face awry
    For married folk to see.

For foolish girl wives in despair,
    For men’s and children’s sakes,
Let loose the glossed and padded hair
    To writhe like scorching snakes!
And strip the barren body bare
    To show what Satan makes.

Aye! I could take her by the throat
    More sure than hangman’s noose,
And set my teeth and set my nails,
    And hate would set my thews.
And fling her to the drought-starved swine,
    Were all my brethren Jews.

There was the kindest man I knew,
    Brave, handsome, straight and tall—
Between his loved ones and the world
    He stood, a fortress wall.
He whines, a ruined drunkard now,
    And this thing did it all.

There was the girl who married me
    And bore my children twain,
We’ll never meet each other’s eyes
    Like boy and girl again.
The very children’s love and trust
    By this foul thing was slain.

There was a girl my manhood loved,
    She’d Love’s own red gold hair,
And grey eyes that were Pity’s own
    And courage that was rare.
She sleeps amongst the suicides,
    And this thing sent her there.

And all because the town was dull
    And goodness was too tame,
And people took no interest
    In one they could not blame.
And all because my life was clean
    And I had won a name.

And now, for years of senseless hate
    And paltry, bitter strife,
For “reparation” come too late,
    For sweetheart, mate and wife,
I tread her vile heart in the dust
    And ashes of my life.

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