Henry Lawson

The Separated Women

The Separated Women Go lying through the land, For they have plenty dresses, And money, too, in hand; They married brutes and drunkards And blackguards frightful low, But why are they so eager For all the world to know? The shamed and ill-used woman Who really longs to die, She slaves at home in silence And hides her poor black eye! She lives a life of terror Eased off at times in woe But why is she so frightened That any one might know? The Separated Woman She rushes to the court, Sad, shabby and pathetic, Or flaunting or distraught; The real wronged wife would rather Lose both eyes and her hair She swears a lie to save him When he is taken there. The Separated Woman She mostly goes the same, Bag-woman, sham-nurse, pretty, Or on her husband’s name; The real loafed-on woman, With courage almost grim, Goes out and takes in washing To keep the kids and him. The Separated Woman I knew her course so well: The Stage, then first-class barmaid, Then third-class bar and hell: And hell means all things vicious That prey upon the town (She wishes her poor husband Had sometimes knocked her down). Masseur and manicurist, Or anything by chance, They vilify their husbands And draw the maintenance. Sham artists, music teachers Oh! they are flinty nuts! Their friends are man-shaped crawlers And lower than the dust. The separated Monsters Are missing from the tale They seem to have cleared out or, Perhaps they are in gaol. The separated husband Is heard of here and there, A mild and decent citizen And mostly bowed with care. The Separated Women, When upset in the track, Are often very eager To take the Monster back. They’ve moved all hell to crush him And, startled, find too late The Monster’s grown content with The separated state.

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