Do You Think That I Do Not Know

This is another one of Henry Lawson’s poem / songs. The tune is by Slim Dusty, a great country and western singer who sadly is no longer with us. Chris Kempster inspired so many of us to write tunes for Lawson’s poems and indeed Chris wrote a tune for these words. The love of Henry’s life was lady by the name of Hannah Thorburn whom he called his spirit girl. She died while Henry and his wife Bertha were away in England and the mention of her being “buried at Brighton where Gordon sleeps’ is the cemetery in Brighton, Melbourne, Victoria, and Gordon was Adam Lindsay Gordon an earlier poet who was also buried at Brighton. Martyn

Do You Think That I Do Not Know

written by Henry Lawson

They say that I never have written of love, 

as a writer of songs should do; 

They say that I never could touch the strings 

with a touch that is firm and true; 

They say I know nothing of women and men 

in the fields where Love’s roses grow, 

and they say I must write with a halting pen 

do you think that I do not know? 

When my love-burst came, like an English Spring, 

in days when our hair was brown, 

and the hem of her skirt was a sacred thing 

and her hair was an angel’s crown. 

The shock when another man touched her arm, 

where the dancers sat round in a row; 

The hope and despair, and the false alarm 

do you think that I do not know? 

By the arbour lights on the western farms, 

you remember the question put, 

while you held her warm in your quivering arms 

and you trembled from head to foot. 

The electric shock from her finger tips, 

and the murmuring answer low, 

the soft, shy yielding of warm red lips 

do you think that I do not know? 

She was buried at Brighton, where Gordon sleeps, 

when I was a world away; 

And the sad old garden its secret keeps, 

for nobody knows to-day. 

She left a message for me to read, 

where the wild wide oceans flow; 

Do you know how the heart of a man can bleed 

do you think that I do not know? 

I stood by the grave where the dead girl lies, 

when the sunlit scenes were fair, 

and the white clouds high in the autumn skies, 

and I answered the message there. 

But the haunting words of the dead to me 

shall go wherever I go. 

She lives in the Marriage that Might Have Been 

do you think that I do not know?