Union Songs

Of The Things I Know I Sing

A poem by Ernest Antony©Ernest Antony 1930

Wherefore this hate and satire, and this bitter irony
That is running through these verses? Is it this you ask of me;
Go search along the highways, the hungry tucker tracks,
In the huts of the cane-cutters, and the dirty cocky’s shacks.

The shearing sheds and mining camps and god-forgotten spots,
Where for the sake of profit man toils and sweats and rots;
Go, search the filthy alleys where the night pariahs hunt,
Go and learn the vile conditions of your city’s waterfront.

Go, and better still, go hungry through the city’s profit mills,
Go tramping, broke and thirsting, o’er the burning plains and hills;
Go and learn of the discomfort of a bed of grass or sand.
Go shivering in the winter, and perhaps you’ll understand.

Go and try to ease your hunger on Salvation Army stew,
And the question you are asking will then be answered by you;
All the bitterness and hatred out of vile conditions spring,
Well, I know those vile conditions–of the things I know I sing.


This is the final poem in Ernest Antony's book of thirty three poems titled The Hungry Mile and published in Sydney in 1930.

see also

Ernest Antony and the Hungry Mile Launch of Second Edition 2008

The Hungry Mile And 'Maritime Invisibility' by Rowan Cahill and

Ernest Antony: Forgotten Poet by Rowan Cahill

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