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Author Topic: Poetry of the gun. From "Down Under"  (Read 2180 times)

RMc

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Poetry of the gun. From "Down Under"
« on: August 12, 2019, 02:45:35 pm »
This was written by one of Australia's most famous poets.
Henry Lawson (1867-1922)    :hmm

Every Man Should Have A Rifle

So I sit and write and ponder, while the house is deaf and dumb,
Seeing visions "over yonder" of the war I know must come.

In the corner - not a vision - but a sign for coming days
Stand a box of ammunition and a rifle in green baize.

And in this, the living present, let the word go through the land,
Every tradesman, clerk and peasant should have these two things at hand.

No - no ranting song is needed, and no meeting, flag or fuss -
In the future, still unheeded, shall the spirit come to us!
Without feathers, drum or riot on the day that is to be,
We shall march down, very quiet, to our stations by the sea.
While the bitter parties stifle every voice that warns of war,
Every man should own a rifle and have cartridges in store!

~ by Henry Lawson, 1907 ~        :coffee
Alabama

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    TommyGunn

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    Re: Poetry of the gun. From "Down Under"
    « Reply #1 on: August 12, 2019, 07:44:55 pm »
    My, how Australia has changed in the last century .... :nervous
    "Through ignorance of what is good and what is bad, the life of men is greatly perplexed." ~~ Cicero.

    MTK20

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    Re: Poetry of the gun. From "Down Under"
    « Reply #2 on: August 13, 2019, 12:22:04 am »
    Beautifully written.

    I can't help but feel he wouldn't recognise his country today.
    Texas
    Do we forget that cops were primarily still using 6 Shot Revolvers well through the mid 80's? It wasn't until after 1986 that most departments then relented and went to autos.
    Capacity wasn't really an issue then... and honestly really it's not even an issue now.
    Ray Chapman, used to say that the 125-grain Magnum load’s almost magical stopping power was the only reason to load .357 instead of .38 Special +P ammunition into a fighting revolver chambered for the Magnum round. I agree. - Massad Ayoob

    Paradoxically it is those who strive for self-reliance, who remain vigilant and ready to help others.

    coelacanth

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    Re: Poetry of the gun. From "Down Under"
    « Reply #3 on: August 13, 2019, 12:25:35 am »
    Agreed, but the rifle in question was probably an old Martini-Henry.  The Commonwealth of Australia wasn't formed until 1901 and the Australian Army came after that.  It took a few years to get the separate colonies that made up Australia sorted out and properly equipped and logistically compatible.   I think that was just prior to the outbreak of WWI so maybe 1910 or thereabouts.  I think a lot of the old Martini-Henry's soldiered on in the hands of home guard units and were eventually surplussed and sold.   

    I'm guessing that the current government might frown on any sort of private firearms ownership but it would be hard to imagine what the objection would be to a lever action single shot in an obsolete caliber.   :hmm   
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    RMc

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    Re: Poetry of the gun. From "Down Under"
    « Reply #4 on: August 13, 2019, 05:18:27 am »
    "...a rifle in green baize."   

    Baize?  A coarse woolen fabric napped to look like felt.  Or so several on-line dictionaries seemed to agree.

    I supposed then, looking at this phrase, it would be a simple heavy green felt case for the rifle.  Somehow, I thought there might be a greater meaning. Perhaps one lost to our time.

    Indeed there was!  At least one implied by this common late 19th early 20th century usage.  Perhaps the title of this article title holds the key:

    The Green Baize Door: Dividing Line Between Servant and Master

    https://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/the-green-baize-door-dividing-line-between-servant

    And further:

    "In the past, large homes used baize as a sort of sound proofing, to mask the noise of a door between the servant’s side and the family side, or between any room and the rest of the house where quiet was desired."

    https://blog.fabricuk.com/history-of-baize-fabric/

    Lawson's verse, then present a distinct contrast between the din of politicians in denial, and the quiet determination of armed men standing to the defense of their island homeland.

    The poet's unanswered question then seems to be:
    On which side of "The Green Baize Door" stood the men with rifles?    :hmm



    « Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 07:05:05 am by RMc »
    Alabama

    wyatt

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    Re: Poetry of the gun. From "Down Under"
    « Reply #5 on: August 13, 2019, 05:36:06 am »
    I had to look up the word Baize too. I took it to mean a gun case but after reading your post can see how it could have a symbolic meaning.

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