Words: Henry Lawson
Music: Ruth Hazleton


Both devastating and beautiful, this Henry Lawson poem has featured in the Australian folk song tradition for many years. I admire the brutal honesty of it, and that it’s written from a woman’s perspective.
I have taken the liberty of rearranging a couple of the original verses, and adding a refrain from folklore—a superstitious counting rhyme associated with traditionally prophetic and sinister birds, like the crows in the first verse of the poem.


Past Carin’ 
Words: Henry Lawson
Music: Ruth Hazleton 
Up and down the siding brown the great black crows are flying
And down below the spur I know, another milker's dying
The crops have withered from the ground, the tank's clay bed is glaring
Yet from my heart no tear nor sound for I have grown past caring.
Through death and trouble turn about, through hopeless desolation
Through flood and fever, fire and drought, through slavery and starvation
Through childbirth, sickness, hurt and blight, through loneliness and scaring
From being left alone at night I have grown to be past caring.
Our first child took in days like these - a cruel week in dying
All day upon her father's knees or on my breast a-lying
The tears we shed, the prayers we said were awful, wild, despairing
I've pulled three through and buried two since then, and I am past caring.
One for sorrow, two for mirth
Three for a funeral and four for a birth
Five for heaven and six for hell
Seven crows are the devil himself.
My eyes are dry, I cannot cry, I have no heart for breaking
Where it was in days gone by is empty dull and aching
He's drovin' in the great North West; I don't know how he's faring
And I, the girl who loved him best, have grown to be past caring.
Past bothering, past carin', past feeling and despairing,
And now I only wish to be beyond all signs of caring.


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