The Wicket Cricket Critic – Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

If the cricket critics’ nagging 

Merits stern official gagging 

Which I doubt 

How would critical ascetics, 

With their prosy homiletics, 

Shut it out? 

And the question then arises: 

If more cricketing surprises, 

Such as bodyline, begin to threaten cricket, 

And another stunt, when sprung, 

Call for clicking of the tongue, 

Should a cricket critic critically click it? 
When the barrackers grow lyric 

In a manner most satiric 

And profane, 

How, one ventures still to wonder, 

May the clamor be kept under? 

How restrain? 

For one barbaric larrik- 

In can do a lot of barrack- 

In’, and cause a lot of worry at the wicket. 

But would sportsmen be abusing 

Cricket canons in refusing 

To supply that cricket critic with a ticket? 
As a critic analytic 

Of the cricket critics’ critic 

I would say, 

When we criticise their cricket, 

Then the players have to stick it, 

Come what may. 

No specific soporific 

May be used; for it is diffic- 

Ult to strike a critic partly paralytic. 

So there’s nothing gained in seeking, 

As I know; and I am speaking 

As a critic of the cricket critic’s critic.

The Wooer  – Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

I nearly fell fair in my tracks. 

I’m trudgin’ homeward with my axe 

When I come on her suddenly. 

‘I wonder if I’m lost?’ says she. 

‘It’s risky on such roads as this.’ 

I lifts my hat an’ says, ‘Yes, miss.’ 

I knew ’twas rude for me to stare, 

But, oh, that sunlight in her hair! 
‘I wonder if I’m lost? says she, 

An’ gives a smile that staggers me. 

‘An’ yet, it wouldn’t matter much 

Supposing that I was, with such 

A glorious green world about, 

With bits of blue sky peepin’ out. 

Do you think there will be a fog?’ 

‘No, miss,’ says I, an’ pats my dog. 
‘Oh, what a dear old dog!’ says she. 

‘Most dogs are pretty fond of me.’ 

She calls him to her, an’ he goes. 

(He didn’t find it hard, I s’pose; 

I know I wouldn’t if she called.) 

‘It’s wondrous how the tracks are walled 

With these great trees that touch the sky 

On either side.’ ‘Yes, miss,’ says I. 
She fondles my old dog a bit; 

I wait to make a bolt for it. 

(There ain’t no call to stand an’ talk 

With one who’d be too proud to walk 

A half-a-yard with such as me.) 

‘The wind keeps workin’ up,’ says she. 

‘Yes, miss,’ says I, an’ lifts me hat. 

An’ she just let’s it go at that. 
She let me reach the dribblin’ ford – 

That day to me it fairly roared. 

(At least, that’s how the thing appears; 

But blood was poundin’ in my ears.) 

She waits till I ahve fairly crossed: 

‘I thought I told I was lost?’ 

She cries. ‘An’ you go walkin’ off, 

Quite scornful, like some proud bush toff!’ 
She got me thinkin’ hard with that. 

‘Yes, miss,’ I says, an’ lifts my hat. 

But she just waits there on the track, 

An’ lets me walk the whole way back. 

‘An’ are you reely lost?’ says I. 

‘Yes, sir,’ says she an’ drops her eye. . . 

I wait, an’ wait for what seems days; 

But not another word she says. 
I pats my dog, an’ lifts my hat; 

But she don’t seem to notice that. 

I looks up trees an’ stares at logs, 

An’ long for twenty hats an’ dogs. 

‘The weather’s kept reel good to-day,’ 

I blurts at last. Say she, ‘Hurray!’ 

‘Hurray!’ she says, an’ then, ‘Encore!’ 

An’ gets me wonderin’ what for. 
‘Is this the right road to ‘The Height?” 

I tell her it’s the road, all right, 

But that the way she’s walkin’ ain’t. 

At that she looked like she would faint. 

‘Then I was lost if I had gone 

Along this road an’ walked right on 

An unfrequented bush track, too! 

How fortunate that I met you!’ 
‘Yes, miss,’ I says. ‘Yes – what?’ says she. 

Says I, ‘Most fortunate . . . for me.’ 

I don’t know where I found the pluck 

To blurt that out an’ chance my luck. 

‘You’ll walk,’ she says, ‘a short way back, 

So you can put me on the track?’ 

‘I’ll take you all the way,’ says I, 

An’ looks her fair bang in the eye. 
Later, I let myself right out, 

An’ talked: an’ told her all about 

The things I’ve done, an’ what I do, 

An’ nearly all I’m hopin’ to. 

Told why I chose the game I’m at 

Because my folks were poor, an’ that. 

She seemed reel pleased to hear me talk, 

An’ sort of steadied up the walk. 
An’ when I’d spoke my little bit, 

She just takes up the thread of it; 

An’ later on, near knocks me down 

By tellin’ me she works – in town. 

Works? her? I thought, the way she dressed, 

She was quite rich; but she confessed 

That makin’ dresses was her game, 

An’ she was dead sick of the same. 
When Good bye came, I lifts my hat; 

But she holds out her hand at that. 

I looked at mine, all stained with sap, 

An’ told her I’m a reel rough chap. 

‘A worker’s hand,’ says she, reel fine, 

‘An’ marked with toil; but so is mine. 

We’re just two toilers; let us shake, 

An’ be good friends – for labour’s sake.’ 
I didn’t care to say no more, 

For fear of what she’d take me for 

But just Good bye, an’ turns away, 

Bustin’ with things I had to say. 

I don’t know how I got right home. 

The wonder was I didn’t roam 

Off in the scrub, an’ dream out there 

Of her with sunlight in her hair. 
At home I looks around the place, 

An’ sees the dirt a fair disgrace; 

So takes an’ tidies up a bit, 

An’ has a shave; an’ then I sit 

Beside my fire to have a think. 

But my old dog won’t sleep a wink; 

He fools, an’ whines, an’ nudges me, 

Then all at once I thinks of tea. 
I beg his pardon wiht a smile, 

An’. talkin’ to him all the while, 

I get it ready, tellin’ him 

About that girl; but, ‘Shut up, Jim!’ 

he says to me as plain as plain. 

‘First have some food, an’ then explain.’ 

(I don’t know how she came to tell, 

But I found out her name is Nell.) 
We gets our bit to eat at last. 

(An’, just for spite, he et his fast) . . . 

I think that Nell’s a reel nice name . . . 

‘All right, old dog, I ain’t to blame 

If you’ . . . Just as I go to sup 

My tea I stop dead, with my cup 

Half up, an’ . . . By the Holy Frost! 

I wonder was Nell reely lost?

The Warrior King  – Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

Albert, King of the Belgians, 

Lived for his whole reign thro’ 

The father and friend of his people, 

Soldier and statesman, too. 

When his armies rode to the carnage, 

‘Twas their King who rode at their hear 

To battle as great Kings battled… 

And Albert the King is dead. 
Albert, King of the Belgians, 

Looking at doomed Louvain, 

Wept for the plight of his people, 

Grieved for his country’s pain. 

But the pride of a King upheld him; 

The strength of a true King stayed, 

And the love of a wise King triumphed 

Thro’ the travail, undismayed. 
Albert, King of the Belgians, 

After the red war’s close, 

Seeking no rest from his labors, 

As a builder now arose; 

Lending his life to service, 

Turning to tasks anew, 

Healing his country’s war-wounds 

Builder and comforter, too. 
Albert, King of the Belgians, 

Died as a Man would die, 

Prone on earth’s broad bosom, 

Under the open sky. 

To a swift and merciful passing, 

Here went, at the end of his span, 

A greater that King of his people 

A wise and well-loved man.

The Silent Member –  Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

He lived in Mundaloo, and Bill McClosky was his name,

But folks that knew him well had little knowledge of that same; 

For he some’ow lost his surname, and he had so much to say –- 

He was called ‘The Silent Member’ in a mild, sarcastic way. 
He could talk on any subject — from the weather and the crops 

To astronomy and Euclid, and he never minded stops; 

And the lack of a companion didn’t lay him on the shelf,

For he’d stand before a looking-glass and argue with himself. 
He would talk for hours on literature, or calves, or art, or wheat; 

There was not a bally subject you could say had got him beat; 

And when strangers brought up topics that they reckoned he would baulk, 

He’d remark, ‘I never heard of that.’ But all the same — he’d talk. 
He’d talk at christ’nings by the yard; at weddings by the mile; 

And he used to pride himself upon his choice of words and style. 

In a funeral procession his remarks would never end 

On the qualities and virtues of the dear departed friend.
We got quite used to hearing him, and no one seemed to care — 

In fact, no happ’ning seemed complete unless his voice was there. 

For close on thirty year he talked, and none could talk him down, 

Until one day an agent for insurance struck the town. 
Well, we knew The Silent Member, and we knew what he could do, 

And it wasn’t very long before we knew the agent, too, 

As a crack long-distance talker that was pretty hard to catch; 

So we called a hasty meeting and decided on a match. 
Of course, we didn’t tell them we were putting up the game; 

But we fixed it up between us, and made bets upon the same. 

We named a time-keep and a referee to see it through; 

Then strolled around, just casual, and introduced the two. 
The agent got first off the mark, while our man stood and grinned; 

He talked for just one solid hour, then stopped to get his wind. 

‘Yes; but –‘ sez Bill; that’s all he said; he couldn’t say no more; 

The agent got right in again, and fairly held the floor. 
On policies, and bonuses, and premiums, and all that, 

He talked and talked until we thought he had our man out flat. 

‘I think –‘ Bill got in edgeways, but that there insurance chap 

Just filled himself with atmosphere, and took the second lap. 
I saw our man was getting dazed, and sort of hypnotized, 

And they oughter pulled the agent up right there, as I advised. 

‘See here -‘ Bill started, husky; but the agent came again, 

And talked right on for four hours good — from six o’clock to ten. 
Then Bill began to crumple up, and weaken at the knees, 

When all at once he ups and shouts, ‘Here, give a bloke a breeze! 

Just take a pull for half a tick and let me have the floor, 

And I’ll take out a policy.’ The agent said no more. 
The Silent Member swallowed hard, then coughed and cleared his throat, 

But not a single word would come –- no; not a blessed note. 

His face looked something dreadful –- such a look of pained dismay; 

Then he have us one pathetic glance, and turned, and walked away. 
He’s hardly spoken since that day –- not more than ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. 

We miss his voice a good bit, too; the town seems rather slow. 

He was called ‘The Silent Member’ just sarcastic, I’ll allow; 

But since that agent handled him it sort o’ fits him now.

The Rose And The Bee – Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

‘Well, what tidings today?’ said the bee 

To the burgeoning rose. 

‘You are young, yet already you see 

Much of life, I suppose.’ 

Said the rose, ‘Oh, this life is so filled 

With astonishing things 

That I think I could not be more thrilled 

E’en if roses had wings. 
Three lupins have bloomed by the pond 

Since last you were here; 

In the nest of the blue-wrens beyond 

Three nestlings appear. 

A gay butterfly slept by my side 

All yesternight thro’ 

Till dawn, when a thrush hymned his pride. 

But how goes it with you?’ 
‘There are great things at hand,’ said the bee. 

‘Change comes to my life. 

In my hive in the woollybutt tree 

Strange rumors are rife. 

The old queen grows restless, I fear, 

She is planning to roam; 

And I must adventure this year 

From the old, safe home. 
‘Old Black Wallaby’s limping, I see, 

Trap again, I suppose. 

Life is full of mischance,’ said the bee. 

‘Ah, no,’ sighed the rose. 

‘Despite all the folly and sin 

And the gala and the strife, 

It’s a wonderful world we live in, 

It’s a wonderful life.’

The Old White Horse  – Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

In olden days the Old White Horse 

Stood brave against the sky; 

And ne’er a teamster shaped his course 

To pass the good inn by. 

Far shone its lights o’ winter nights 

To beckon weary men; 

By the long road where calm life flowed 

It loomed a landmark then. 
And many a good right yarn was spun 

Mid pewter-pots agleam; 

And mnay a friendship here begun 

Grew riper as the team 

Drew down the road its precious load 

Of merchandise or mail, 

And faced the ills of long, steep hills 

To far-off Lilydale. 
The tap-room rang to many a song, 

While patient teams stood there; 

And talk and laughter loud and long 

Held nothing of despair; 

For spoke they then, those bearded men, 

Of fortunes shining near 

Spoke with a grand faith in their land, 

A faith that laughed at fear. 
Gone are the days and gone the ways 

Of easy, calm content; 

Yet few supposed an epoch closed 

The day the old inn went. 

Now, past brick homes trim and cold, 

The swift cars, speeding by, 

Shall see no beacon as of old, 

Shall see no brave White Horse stand bold 

Against a hopeful sky.

The Shrine – Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

For them we have builded a temple 

To stand as a visible sign. 

For them we have builded a temple, 

And set in its great heart a shrine. 

Ere the dull years shall tarnish their story, 

While the spirit bides close to us yet, 

We have set up a shrine to their glory, 

Lest men should forget. 
We have raised upa visible temple, 

Hewn from impermanent stone; 

And the spirit shall dwell in the temple; 

Yet not in the temple alone. 

Lest the spirit of that great oblation, 

Eternal, transcending all pride, 

Dwell, too, in the heart of their nation, 

In vain they have died. 
For a holier place has enshrined them 

From treacherous time’s swift decay: 

A temple more hallowed has held them 

Inviolate unto today. 

But the friends of their friends, too, shall perish, 

The seed of their seed shall grow old, 

While for ever the flame that these cherish 

A nation must hold. 
So soon do their feet grow aweary 

Of treading where glory had birth, 

So soon do their souls grow aweary 

Of transient things of the earth. 

And they go to the great consummating, 

The goal of their pilgrimage won, 

To triumphant battalions awaiting 

They drift one by one. 
When the last tired veteran totters 

From this, fame’s unstable abode; 

When the last tired footfall has echoed 

And died in the dust of the road; 

Tho’ they boast down the years of his story, 

If the spirit he left us shall fail 

No shrine may envision that glory 

No temple avail. 
We have builded a visible temple; 

We have set us a tangible sign 

For a symbol of that truer temple, 

A mark of that holier shrine; 

And nought of war’s long tarnished story 

Dwells there, not of pride nor of pain, 

But all that remains of their glory 

Who died not in vain.