For Australia

The Separated Women

Henry Lawson

THE Separated Women
    Go lying through the land,
For they have plenty dresses,
    And money, too, in hand;
They married brutes and drunkards
    And blackguards “frightful low”,
But why are they so eager
    For all the world to know?

The shamed and ill-used woman
    Who really longs to die,
She slaves at home in silence
    And hides her poor black eye!
She lives a life of terror
    Eased off at times in woe—
But why is she so frightened
    That any one might know?

The Separated Woman
    She rushes to the court,
Sad, shabby and pathetic,
    Or flaunting or distraught;
The real wronged wife would rather
    Lose both eyes and her hair—
She swears a lie to save him
    When he is taken there.

The Separated Woman
    She mostly goes the same,
Bag-woman, sham-nurse, “pretty”,
    Or on her husband’s name;
The real loafed-on woman,
    With courage almost grim,
“Goes out” and takes in washing
    To keep the kids—and him.

The Separated Woman—
    I knew her course so well:
“The Stage”, then first-class barmaid,
    Then third-class bar—and hell:
And “hell” means all things vicious
    That prey upon the town
(She wishes her poor husband
    Had sometimes knocked her down).

Masseur and manicurist,
    Or anything by chance,
They vilify their husbands—
    And draw the maintenance.
Sham artists, “music teachers”—
    Oh! they are flinty nuts!
Their friends are man-shaped crawlers
    And lower than the dust.

The separated “Monsters”
    Are missing from the tale—
They seem to have cleared out—or,
    Perhaps they are in gaol.
The separated husband
    Is heard of here and there,
A mild and decent citizen
    And mostly bowed with care.

The Separated Women,
    When upset in the track,
Are often very eager
    To take the “Monster” back.
They’ve moved all hell to crush him
    And, startled, find too late
The Monster’s grown content with
    The separated state.

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