Australian Folk Songs

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Cutting Cane (1926)


Before the day is dawning,
And the shadows start to wane
Grab a cup of tea whilst yawning.
Then away to cut the cane.
For the morning hours are cooling,
And the damp is on the trash:
Then the work is not so cruelling.
And each swing is full of dash.


So it's slash, slash, slash,
In the weeds and in the trash;
For you have to work like blazes
If you want to make the cash.
No time to wipe your forehead,
As you chop below the roots,
And the sweat runs down your carcase
And trickles out your boots.

In to breakfast, fill your bingy
With a decent, tasty feed.
For the cook he isn't stingy,
And he knows the grub you need.
Aching backs and tired muscles
Are forgotten as you dine,
Strengthening up for further tussles,
For you have no time to whine.


So it's slash,, slash; slash.
There's a swishing kind of crash;
As the cane falls it is singing
A song of haard earned cash.
And you're sweaty, gritty, dirty,
Like a mud-bespattered duck;
But you get a spell whilst racing
Loading cane into a truck.

The sun has long been setting,
And you glimpse the Evening-Star
As camp wards you are getting,
And it's weary men you are.
But comradeship is cheering,
And the jokes are light and gay,
For cheque-time it is nearing,
And your is on your pay.


And it's slash, slash, slash,
From your conscious mind you dash:
You know the cut's been good-o,
And you feel you'r up to cash.
But with all the cash you're earning
Comes a thought that give a jar;
Yours and the "cockies" cash is nothing
Compared unto CSR.


From the Queensland newspaper the The Northern Herald Wednesday 28 July 1926, p. 41.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory