Australian Folk Songs
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The Worker's Dream (1919)
I was tramping home one evening--may have been a week-ago--
When I overheard this version, 'bout the Toiler, don't yer know ;
They're a lot of loafing blighters, never earn their bit of grub ;
Sooner stand around the corner, or swill liquor at a pub.
These 'ere workers, well Gor blime moulded from the foulest sod :
Just a lot of dirty Bolshies, fearing neither man nor God,
Now, my brothers, can you wonder, when I bounded to their side,
That they slunk away like dingoes fearful for their blanky hide.
Did they think of weary workers, going home to faithful wife ?
Who had children crying round her for necessities of life ;
Nothing sweet, or nothing joyful, and no gay corroboree
Comes the way of weary workers. That's why some go on the spree.
But we see the sweeping changes, That ere long will come to pass ;
And no more we'll know of sorrow, Neither will we know of class.
It's broken time through rain or sickness keeps us in our misery,
Voice of God is voice of people, So we'll say vox populi.
And I know you'll call me Bolshie, just to vent your bitter spleen
On a cause that's sweet and wholesome, that is just, and good, and clean ;
And you'd like to see the toilers trodden down as in the past ;
But your scheming's unavailing, For the dawn has broke at last.
Soon you'll hear the children shouting, and the women filled with glee,
As they hear the joyful tidings, that at last the world is free
From a system that is Hellish to the average working man,
And you'll hear the trumpets sounding from Beersbeeba unto Dan.
No more will helpless women, like ghouls upon the pave,
Be out to sell their bodies for pittance till the grave
Doth open and receive them and shield them from the scorn,
Of uncharitable sisters who were more temperate born.
Then men will hurry homewards, with merry mien and bright
And share with little children, their pleasures and delight.
For now their trouble's ended and peace has come at last ;
They get the fruits of labor, denied them in the past.
One moment let me linger and point the moral plain,
That the present mode of living of the worker is a stain
On make believe society that chirps Thy Will Be Done,
But helps to kill the Socialist, the Christ, the only son.
A kid has started howling, it woke up in a fright,
I drop my pen to get it, so I bid you all good night !
From the NSW newspaper the Coffs Harbour Advocate Wednesday 28 May 1919 p. 2. Nine years later, under the more complete name, C. R. E. Grainger, this poem was published in the NSW Newspaper the The Cessnock Eagle and South Maitland Recorder Friday 24 August 1928 p. 5.Clearly this poem responds to the world wide interest in the "Bolshevic" Revolution in Russia in 1917, and the hope that a new socialist, classless world might be possible. The conflation of Christ and Socialism is also apparent in a period where the end of the first world war morphed into a world depression.
australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory