Henry Lawson

Here you will find the Poem When the Ladies Come to the Shearing Shed of poet Henry Lawson

When the Ladies Come to the Shearing Shed

`The ladies are coming,? the super says
To the shearers sweltering there,
And `the ladies? means in the shearing shed:
`Don?t cut ?em too bad. Don?t swear.?
The ghost of a pause in the shed?s rough heart,
And lower is bowed each head;
And nothing is heard, save a whispered word,
And the roar of the shearing-shed.

The tall, shy rouser has lost his wits,
And his limbs are all astray;
He leaves a fleece on the shearing-board,
And his broom in the shearer?s way.
There?s a curse in store for that jackaroo
As down by the wall he slants?
And the ringer bends with his legs askew
And wishes he?d `patched them pants.?

They are girls from the city. (Our hearts rebel
As we squint at their dainty feet.)
And they gush and say in a girly way
That `the dear little lambs? are `sweet.?
And Bill, the ringer, who?d scorn the use
Of a childish word like `damn,?
Would give a pound that his tongue were loose
As he tackles a lively lamb.

Swift thoughts of homes in the coastal towns?
Or rivers and waving grass?
And a weight on our hearts that we cannot define
That comes as the ladies pass.
But the rouser ventures a nervous dig
In the ribs of the next to him;
And Barcoo says to his pen-mate: `Twig
`The style of the last un, Jim.?

Jim Moonlight gives her a careless glance?
Then he catches his breath with pain?
His strong hand shakes and the sunlights dance
As he bends to his work again.
But he?s well disguised in a bristling beard,
Bronzed skin, and his shearer?s dress;
And whatever Jim Moonlight hoped or feared
Were hard for his mates to guess.

Jim Moonlight, wiping his broad, white brow,
Explains, with a doleful smile:
`A stitch in the side,? and `he?s all right now??
But he leans on the beam awhile,
And gazes out in the blazing noon
On the clearing, brown and bare?
She has come and gone, like a breath of June,
In December?s heat and glare.

The bushmen are big rough boys at the best,
With hearts of a larger growth;
But they hide those hearts with a brutal jest,
And the pain with a reckless oath.
Though the Bills and Jims of the bush-bard sing
Of their life loves, lost or dead,
The love of a girl is a sacred thing
Not voiced in a shearing-shed.