Louisa Lawson (1848-1920)
Just as the starving cattle come
To drink at fall of night.
They came to me with faltering steps,
And laces wan and white ;
And they were there at dawn of flay
With streaming hair and eyes,
And piteous looks that seemed to say,
' Help us ere all good dies.'
I lifted up my bleeding fe et
And let the red drops fall,
I raised the oaken yoke and showed
The big hot spots of gall.
I said, ' I am mysell a tdave,
liound by a man-made law.
I weep my fate but cannot save,
So plead with me no more.'
They cried, 'Oh, sister ! Hide your feet,
Anti let the hard yoke fall,
You tread the press for wine alone,
Hut you are strong withal.
'Go, while we watch and weep and wait,
Leave home and love and all ;
But when you reach the outer gate,
Call as the cattle call.
'Cry to the rulers we have borne,
Plead for the babes we bear,
Sue till the dusk from early morn,
Pray till they needs must bear.'
I yielded then, and sought alone
A city near the main ;
Where prejudice, a monster grown,
Held universal reign.
And oft I gave the conflict o'er,
And fell, beleagued by pair
And cruel wrong and losses sore.
Then rose and fought again.
t 'util one fatal day I fell,
Methought to rise no mere.
Mut year went hy and I was we'l,
AUhotigii notas before
A cripple in life's afternoon
Jieside a dead cold hearth,
Willi no glad joybells' lingering croon,
Or hope's bright aftermath.
I listened to the leaden rain
Drone through the dreary dusk,
And wind's intone with weird refrain
Like whispered rue, and rusk.
I said, 'Oh, heart with sorrow sore,
What wait we, you and I ?
The day is lost, and hope is o'er,
Why not curse good and die-'
Hut hark I quick step nears my door.
A woman's form I see,
She comes acro-s my humble floor
And look.-, with joy on me.
A glad voice naid, ' I came to thee,
On this thrice-blessed day
To tell you, sister, we are free !
To kneel with you and pray.'
I quickly sank upon my knees,
And looked the thanks I thought,
That He Who e'en a sparrow sees
I lad watched us as we fought.
And now I see the forms again,
All chanced from those of yore.
Xot like the slaves who Legged in vain
I or freedom as before.
Ah, not ;n sackcloth sit they now,
Erect is every head,
For Freedom's crown adorns each brow
Their dress is Royal Ked.
Their yokes are carved to standard- light
Ilfdd in each firm right hand,
And floating free are letters hright
' l-'or Home and Native I,and-''
And hopefully they speak and move,
And sing as on (hey go,
For they will have the land they love
From HID, and want, and woe.'
Comments about this poem (Dream 1 by Louisa Lawson )
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