Henry's Songbook

All original copyrights respected / For private use only

go to  de   Susannes Folksong-Notizen   English Notes  uk

Now I'm Easy

  • (Eric Bogle)

    For nearly sixty years I've been a cocky
    Of droughts and fires and floods I've lived through plenty
    This country's dust and mud have seen my tears and blood
    But it's nearly over now, and now I'm easy

    I married a fine girl when I was twenty
    But she died in giving birth when she was thirty
    No flying doctor then, just a gentle old black gin
    But it's nearly over now, and now I'm easy

    She left me with two sons and a daughter
    And a bone-dry farm whose soil cried out for water
    So my care was rough and ready but they grew up fine and steady
    But it's nearly over now, and now I'm easy

    My daughter married young and went her own way
    My sons lie buried by the Burma Railway
    So on this land I've made my own I've carried on alone
    But it's nearly over now, and now I'm easy

    City folks these days despise the cocky
    Saying, with subsidies and all we've had it easy
    There's no drought or starving stock on a sewered suburban block
    But it's nearly over now, and now I'm easy

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1960:] The term 'cocky' for a farmer originated about the time that Sir John Robertson's Free Selection Act came into force in New South Wales. When the bill was being discussed in Parliament one member complained that the Act would ruin the country because it spread selectors over the land like cockatoos, and eventually the land would be so damaged as to make it worthless. Gradually the term 'cocky' was applied to every small farmer and later those who engaged in dairy farming became known as 'cow cockies'. (Beatty, Treasury 230)
    Cocky: A small farmer or settler. The term is said to have been derived from cockatoo farmer - one who works hard, fencing, ploughing, and sowing his small selection only to see the ground white with cockatoos grubbing up his seed. (Beatty, Treasury 280)

  • [1977:] A "Cocky" is an Australian term for a farmer who farms land on a small scale and is therefore usually poor and battling to make ends meet. It is derived from the contemptous term given to these farmers of "Cockatoo farmers" by the large rich graziers. "Flying doctor" refers to the outback medical service of Australia where the nearest doctor can be up to two thousand miles away. The doctors are then flown in from the nearest medical base, upon receipt of an emergency call from the outback station's radio. A "gin" is the shortening of the word Aborigine, the true natives of Australia. The word is however only used to refer to an Aboriginal woman, usually an elderly one. All the outback stations in Australia had their "gins" who often acted as midwives in the absence of proper medical help. (Notes Eric Bogle, 'Live In Person')

  • [1980:] Written in March 1974. - I met an old 'Cocky' in a pub in Australia once and this is his life story as told to me. The songwriter's ultimate arrogance I suppose, a man's life in six verses, but I think that I picked out the important bits. The song title is derived from a phrase which the Cocky kept using while spinning his yarns to me. (Notes Eric Bogle, 'Now I'm Easy')

  • [2000:] A man died for every five metres of track laid. Working in stifling heat and living on starvation rations, British [and Australian!] prisoners forced to build the infamous Thailand-to-Burma railway for the Japanese endured an appalling ordeal. More than 100,000 men lost their lives. Now, nearly 58 years after the opening of a simple bridge over the River Kwai signalled the completion of the project, a campaign has been launched to force the [British] Government to fund a memorial for the forgotten heroes who built the railway. [...] The only reminder of British dead are the isolated cemeteries, which veterans or families on pilgrimages make a point of visiting. After the war, bodies found dumped in mass graves at the POW camps or buried where they fell - exhausted, sick and malnourished - were transferred to two cemeteries. [Bill Holtham recalls:] "I was sent to the railway with 1,680 soldiers. In three months, 250 were left alive. We were just skeletons. I could make my thumb and index finger into a circle and slide it up and down my upper arm. We were beaten and starved and murdered. The atrocities were beyond belief. [...]" (Tracy McVeigh, Observer, 4 June)

  • [2000:] Of the 46,000 PoWs who slaved to build the Burma Railway, 16,000 died after subsisting on one bowl of rice a day. Out of the 50,000 prisoners taken into Japanese camps, only 38,000 survived. (Antony Barnett, Observer, 20 Aug)

  • [2001:] The Burma campaign started in earnest in 1942 following the Japanese invasion. Allied soldiers retreated more than 1,000 miles through dense jungle, constantly harried by the enemy. The Japanese advance was turned back on the border with India by one million troops, dubbed the "forgotten army", who then beat back their enemy. More than 200,000 Allied casualties were recorded during the campaign. (Dan Slee, Wolverhampton Express & Star, 8 Aug)


  • (for a parody)

Quelle: Australia

go back de  N-Index uk

 Sammlung : Susanne Kalweit (Kiel)
Layout : Henry Kochlin  (Schwerin)

aktualisiert am 29.04.2002