Sarah On the Poetry of Henry Lawson

Books have the awesome power to transform, engage and inspire.

Three years ago, my sister Sarah invited me to join her on the The Book Dialogue Podcast. Over the years, books have been a topic of conversation whenever we get together. She reminded me that it happens to all of us. Some time in our life we come to know that we will never read all the books that are on our “to read” shelves.

The Book Dialogue is dedicated to expanding our reading capacity by viewing books through the lens of other readers. Two Sisters, two viewpoints leads to interesting outcomes. This is our unscripted discussions on books, poetry, and philosophy!

We invite you to join the conversation.

Rebecca & Sarah on The Book Dialogue

My name is Sarah and I’m so glad that you joined me today.  The Book Dialogue is an exploration of poetry and books, philosophy, and all the things in life that happen and occur in and around us. We have wonderful conversations, and I would love you to be able to join us in the conversation.

We invite you to follow us on or As my sister is fond of saying, we like to think that we’re everywhere. So, join us in that everywhere and share what are you reading, what poem strikes your heart. We want to hear from you!

Today, I will be reciting a poem by Henry Lawson.  His words are a powerful reminder of how we must reach out beyond ourselves to ensure that we don’t take people at surface value. But to look beneath that façade they wear to see the heart.

The Things We Dare Not Tell

The fields are fair in autumn yet, and the sun’s still shining there,
But we bow our heads and we brood and fret, because of the masks we wear;
Or we nod and smile the social while, and we say we’re doing well,
But we break our hearts, oh, we break our hearts! for the things we must not tell.

There’s the old love wronged ere the new was won, there’s the light of long ago;
  There’s the cruel lie that we suffer for, and the public must not know.
   So we go through life with a ghastly mask, and we’re doing fairly well,
While they break our hearts, oh, they kill our hearts! do the things we must not tell.

   We see but pride in a selfish breast, while a heart is breaking there;
  Oh, the world would be such a kindly world if all men’s hearts lay bare!
  We live and share the living lie, we are doing very well,
  While they eat our hearts as the years go by, do the things we dare not tell.

  We bow us down to a dusty shrine, or a temple in the East,
  Or we stand and drink to the world-old creed, with the coffins at the feast;
  We fight it down, and we live it down, or we bear it bravely well,
  But the best men die of a broken heart for the things they cannot tell.

Until next time we meet, keep reading and reciting poetry.

Published by Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

47 thoughts on “Sarah On the Poetry of Henry Lawson

  1. Thank you for featuring an Australian poet. It’s a goal of mine to become more knowledgeable about the literary traditions of the Southern Hemisphere. (A big gap in my education I’ve realized lately!) What struck me most about “The Things We Dare not Tell” was that as heartbreaking as those masks are, too often they’re put on for self-preservation after someone has been cruel to that person. Doubly heartbreaking.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. How very well said, Liz! Those masks become very heavy, don’t they? I have been doing a little research on Henry Lawson. What I have found out is that he is considered Australia’s greatest short story writer as well as a poet. He was the son of the poet, publisher and feminist Louisa Lawson. Henry Lawson’s most successful prose collection is While the Billy Boils, published in 1896. I’m on the hunt for that prose collection. So now I’m on to finding out more about Louisa Lawson. And into the rabbit hole we go…….

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It has been in my mind for a while that it would be nice to do a read-along of a writer who contributed greatly to the literary tradition of a country in the southern hemisphere. (But not until after I finish War & Peace!)

        Liked by 2 people

  2. What an exciting sisterly duo: Rebecca and Sarah, both strong names! Thank you for introducing me to the poetry of Henry Lawson. Like Liz, I want to get more familiar with poets of both hemispheres. 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for your lovely comments, Marian. Sarah and I have a great deal of fun reciting poetry together and talking about books. Sarah reads about 5 books to my one, so I benefit from her reading experiences. I just found out that Henry Lawson’s mother was a poet. I continue to learn and learn and learn.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Just beautiful. It is nice to have you both at work! It helps me get easier through this turbulent period. (I mean the happening in Iran with the brave women and young men right now. Sarah might know what I’m talking about.) 🤗💖

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Just last night, Sarah and I were talking about the situation in Iran. Our thoughts and prayers are with the brave women and young men during this turbulent time. Many thanks for your comments, Alaedin – very much appreciated.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you so much, Sarah and Rebecca, for introducing me to Henry Lawson and his poetry. What a heartbreaking poem about the secrets we carry and the lies we tell. Goes to show the importance of choices and that honesty is worth its weight in a light heart. Beautiful rendition, Ladies. Hugs.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree, Diana – honesty is worth its weight in a light heart. One lie can easily lead to the next and next…

      As you know I love quotes and I found one that came from Henry Lawson that I think you will enjoy:

      “my ways are strange ways and new ways and old ways, And deep ways and steep ways and high ways and low, I’m at home and at ease on a track that I know not, And restless and lost on a road that I know.” Henry Lawson

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you, Dave! Sarah reads about 5 books to my 1, so I benefit greatly from her reading experience. Sarah just introduced me to the “Big Library Read” which is the first global ebook club.

        Its free and attached to local libraries. The next book in the series is “A Snake Falls to Earth” by Darcie Little Badger (Lipan Apache writer) beginning November 2 -16, 2022. Should be interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I had never heard of Henry Lawson before Sarah brought up this poem. And now I have gone down the rabbit hole. Henry Lawson has taken me to find Andrew Barton “Banjo” Paterson, another Australian bush poet, journalist and author. He wrote the poem “Waltzing Matilda” in 1895. I continue to learn….

      “Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong
      Under the shade of a coolibah tree,
      And he sang as he watched and waited till his “Billy” boiled
      “You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me.”

      Liked by 1 person

  5. How wonderful it is to have a sister with whom you can read and speak about such deep going poems such as this present one, Rebecca! Many thanks to you both and the last sentence touched me very much. I sometimes feel myself that I cannot speak about my feelings or problems in order not to burden my friends too much.
    Big hugs 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am delighted that you joined Sarah and me in reading Henry Lawson, Martina. Sometimes it seems easier to wear a mask than to speak from the heart. I enjoyed this poem. I know that Sarah had to recite it a couple of times because she would start to cry when she read the words. Poetry touches are soul. Sending hugs and more hugs back your way.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Robbie for your visit and comments. I apologize for my late response. We have been travelling and in and out of internet connection. Like you, I had never heard of Henry Lawson before and find that there are many poets that I simply have never encountered before. I continue to learn…

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I am finding, Margaret that there are many poets that I have never heard of before. It is like a treasure hunt. Please forgive my late response – I have been travelling and am in and out of internet.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. This is wonderful poem and so well read. The numerous comments add to this podcast, as well. Poetry is a very beautiful way of writing the thoughts, it takes much time, not only selecting the thoughts, but also choosing rhyming words to enhance the beauty. This has been a very enjoyable read! ! You asked me to mention the books that I am reading. I am reading some books that my husband (your father) purchased many years ago. I am learning a lot, and I wish that I could retain all the history from centuries ago. I am up to the 1300s now with several large, thick books yet to read. I may have to read some again, because some of the information is very valuable!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Frances. Those books are extraordinary and it would be good to reread them because there is so much information and stories in that collection.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. What wonderful writing exquisitely read by Sarah.
    Social musts, do’s & don’ts have prevented many from realizing a full life.
    In a way: it almost makes me appreciate the gossip who holds nothing back, and tells all.
    Now, a new creature has reared its head, in this regard.
    PC, aka political correctness is stifling us.
    It has merits in the best of intentions at the beginning. Now…. I think it is out of control.
    It makes me think of Edith Bunker. She would just simply and honestly say what was in her mind. Archie would say “Stifle”!


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Resa, for your profound and insightful comments. Sorry for my late response. We have been in transit these past few days which has allowed me to reflect upon your thoughts and the idea of political correctness, which was perfect timing because I was in the middle of reading “Tuesdays with Morrie,” by Mitch Albom.

      To be a force for good, words must contain compassion, kindness, respect, understanding. I had an “ah ha” moment when I read the following passage. I was reminded that we must gain a greater understanding how love influences our lives. It is the only rational act.

      “The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in. Let it come in. We think we don’t deserve love, we think if we let it in we’ll become too soft. But a wise man named Levin said it right. He said, “Love is the only rational act.”
      Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Love has been a mainstay of my personal philosophies since around 18 yrs.
        What bugs me about PC is that I see some who hide behind it, they have the right words and phrases, but don’t mean it with any love behind it.
        Then there are those who slip up, unintentionally, have love in their hearts (goodness knows I’ve bumbled my way around), but are persecuted for the mistake. Wherein lies the love there? Is this a one way street?
        Common sense needs to be a player. Common sense + love = a higher love, compassion and understanding.
        What a great tool box that is.
        I love talking with you Rebecca. You are a keen investigator, and a compassionate advocate.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Every day we make progress together, Resa. You are a kindred spirit that inspires and encourages me in my journey . I agree common sense plus love equals
        a higher love. Sending much love your way.

        Liked by 2 people

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