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Kunama 1959

Out Back

(With apologies to Henry Lawson)

The old year went and the new returned in the withering weeks of school
The work was done that the teacher set and the schools were all cut out;
The bosses' words were long and many and the bosses' looks were black
And the time had come as the teacher knew to carry his books out back.

He tramped away from the schoolhouse there when the days were long and hot,
With never a student to know or care if he died on the track or not.
The kids at school have friends in woe, no matter how much they lack,
But only God and the poor man know how a teacher fares out-back.

He begged his way to the parched plateau and the mountain tracks once more
And lived like a pig as teachers do 'till the western schools were near;
But students were many and the schools were full for the work in the town was out.
The teacher never wielded a cane though he plodded a year out back.

For time means tucker and tramp they must, where schools and churches are wide,
With seldom a track that a poor man can trust or a mountain peak to guide;
And all day long in the flies and heat the teachers of outside track,
With stinted stomachs and blistered feet must carry their books out back.


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