Australian Folk Songs
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The Cane Cutter (1914)
Some write about the cutters, and their merry, happy lives ;
Or the falling of the sticks and the rattle of the knives ;
Or the joking while they're loading, with laughter and with song,
And the whistle of the, driver as he drives his team along.
But they either do not know, or they wilfully forget
The many cuts and scratches that the cutters often get ;
Or the fierce and glaring heat, when he isn't near the trees,
In among it he tall Rappoe, where he cannot get a breeze.
Or loading up the waggon, when the sun is pouring down,
Till his neck is burnt a ruddy red, and his arms a dirty brown,
And the sweat is running from his boots ; he'ls curse the blooming farm,
When the cane it is so hot it burns his neck and arm.
Or when in early morn, the dew is on it yet,
And his sweater, and his flannel, and his trousers are all wet ;
Or on a winter's morning, when the weather is so cold,
And his fingers are so stiff that the cane hie cannot hold.
Or when he's cutting Bundy, Gern, or Cherrybong,
And he gets the blooming itch and is scratching all day long ;
Or when the cane is lying down, and it is knocked about,
And with his arms he's pulling till he's nearly pulled them out.
And when the waggon it sinks down, and the driver he gets stuck.
And he cannot get the cane away to get it on the truck,
The cutter has to drop his knife and go and give a shout,
And pull and push, and dig and haul until he gets him out.
And when the loading's finished, and the cutting is all done,
He finds that 'tis only then the fun it has begun.
And he feels so very savage he could eat his number eight's,
When he finds he has to wait a week before he sees the weights.
And when he sees the weights he finds they're not all there.
He sits down on the old bunk and has a little swear ;
And there he sits a while, then gives his head a rub,
Rolls up his swag, and gets his cheque, and is off to the nearest pub.
Bauple, February 24. 1914.
From the Queensland newspaper the Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser Saturday 28 February 1914, p. 12.
australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory