If I Could Write Like Henry Lawson
I love the works of Lawson, for he told of what he saw As he lived his life of misery, sort of keeping daily score Of what went on around him and the places that he’d been And he makes me feel I’m with him, in his “word-paint” of the scene He told us of bushranging days, and cons and spielers too And shearers, drovers, horses, dogs, “A prouder man than you!” “The star of Australasia”, and one called “The Bushfire” “My army, Oh my army” and “Jack Dunn of Nevertire” He wrote many poignant verses that almost make you cry His stories told of life those days beneath the outback sky Or mixing in the city, or droughts across the plain Or tramping around the country, or riding on a train His stories dealt with hardships with a knowledge from within For hardship was a part of life that seemed to followed him His writings conveyed feelings that were meaningful and true with involvement that could leave no doubt he really was true blue He told us too of loves he had experienced in his life the love of people, places; things apart from man and wife Of bonds that grew ‘tween man and dog, or man and horse he’d tell Or man and hillsides, rivers, plains, and city life as well But what he showed us most was that he saw what others don’t ‒ The way one man sees beauty, while the bloke alongside won’t And he described what was around him in a way I must admire in a style that was as versatile as the story would require Though I’ll never see what Lawson saw, or describe like he did But a dream of mine has always been (since I was just a kid) to write my own short stories on the way that I see life The happiness, and normal things, the triumphs, and the strife So I guess I’ll keep on writing and keep hoping that some day I’ll be stricken by the writing bug and write things in a way That people find enticing: enough to buy the book That is filled with little stories ‒ and is written by Jeff Cook.
Jeff Cook’s poem today is one of a great many he says he has written since the first in 1990 on the death from cancer of a young close neighbour and friend. Jeff grew up in a farming family of six children, left school at 13 to work on the farm, and always thought he would be a farmer all his life. His life changed soon after writing his first poem, when he also lost the family farm to interest rates of over 20 per cent. About then, he published his first book of poetry, and soon found himself broadcasting it on radio stations around Australia. With his verse, he says he tries to capture the spirit of Australia and its diverse peoples. While he has followed many pursuits in his 69 years, he has now settled down to driving a school bus, entertaining with guitar and song, and writing and performing his own brand of poetry.