Henry Lawson Poems: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mary Evans

Mary has taught elementary school for six years and has a master's degree in education.

Henry Lawson is one of Australia's most famous writers. He's well-known for his realistic poetry from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Read this lesson to see what all the fuss is about!

A Little Background

Henry Lawson is most famous for the poetry he wrote around the turn of the twentieth century about the Australian Bush. Sometimes called the outback, the bush is a rural part of interior Australia, and the people who wrote poetry about it are known as bush poets. At the time Lawson was writing, the bush was suffering from a major drought and the people there had great difficulty taking care of their ranches, their animals, and themselves.

The bush is characterized by a rugged, desert terrain.
Australian Outback

Henry Lawson's Style

Lawson's style was realistic. Unlike romantics, who built the rural way of life up to be more exciting and beautiful than it was, Lawson hit readers with the hard truth: life was tough! Instead of using a bunch of flowery language and focusing on famous or extraordinary people, he wrote about everyday folks in terms they could understand. This unusual approach to portraying (showing) life in the bush is what made him famous.

Let's take a closer look at some of these poems.

Andy's Gone With Cattle

''Andy's Gone With Cattle'' is a poem told from the perspective of someone who was left behind when Andy, who is what we would call a cowboy, has to leave with the cattle. Because of the drought, there's not enough water for the cattle to drink or enough good grass to graze. This puts a financial burden on the family, who must either find water or sell their cattle.

The narrator wonders what will become of the people on the ranch now that the cheerful-faced caretaker and protector is gone. Furthermore, the narrator understands and fears the dangers Andy will face while he is away. Andy's absence is heartbreaking, and it perfectly describes a situation that was all too real for people in Australia at the time, as people did what was necessary to survive.

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