Poem – A Fair Exchange

Would you be much impressed, my dear,
Now you’ve adopted shorts,
If males like me came dressed, my dear,
In skirts, to divers sports?
With gussets, flares and pleats and things
Like that, we’d give our fancy wings
To grace the links and courts.

You should not worry very much,
Since male attire you choose,
If, with a chic Parisian touch
And taste in cut and hues,
We garbed ourselves, from neck to knees,
In crepe de chine or ‘summer breeze’
Of pretty pinks and blues.

Would frills and flounces seem absurd
Upon the manly form?
I don’t see why, upon my word,
Such gads, should raise a storm
Of ridicule. And, if they do,
Scorn coming from one garbed like you
Is really rather warm.

Think the position out, my dear,
And be consistent, please.
And, while you dash about, my dear,
In pants shorn to the knees,
You’re drawing from the normal male
The same loud laugh with which you’d hail
A man in fripperies.

Poem – Autumn Interlude

I said goodbye to the bees last Friday week,
To blooms, and to things like these, for Winter bleak
Was shouting loud from the hills, and flinging high
His gossamer net that fills frail Autumn’s sky.
So I said goodbye to the bees; for I knew that soon
I should bask no more ‘neath the trees on some high noon
And hark to the drowsy hum close overhead.
For the cold and rain must come, now Summer’s dead.

So I wallowed a while in woe and wooed unease;
And I rather liked it so; for it seemed to please
Some clamoring inner urge – some need apart,
And I felt self-pity surge, here, in my heart
As I said goodbye to the bees, my tireless friends
Who toil mid the flowers and the trees till daylight ends
Who toil in the sun, yet seem to find no irk,
While I loll in the shade and dream; for I do love work.

Ah, fate and the falling leaf! How dear is woe.
How subtly sweet is grief (Synthetic). So
I said goodbye to the bees; and then I wrote
This crown of threhodies, while in my throat
I choked back many a sob and salt tears spent.
But I felt I’d done my job, and was content.
For I’d penned my piece to the bees – the poet’s tosh
Of the Autumn’s drear unease. Ah, me! Oh, gosh!

I said goodbye to the bees last Friday week….
Then the tempest shook the trees, the swollen creek
Went thundering down to the plain, the wind shrieked past,
And the cold, and the wet, wet rain were here at last….
Then, a hot sun, scorning rules, shone forth, alack!
And those blundering, blithering fools, the bees came back,
Humming a song inance in the rain-washed trees. . . .
Now it’s all to do again. . . . Oh, blast the bees!

Poem – The Lips Of Ages

Down thro’ the ages these same sticks
Have played on man their knavish tricks.
Down thro’ the ages these false lips
Have been as blessings or as whips
To scourge poor man to actions rash
In waging wars or wasting cash.
Down thro’ the years, when Adam grieves,
Look to those painted lips of Eve’s.

Once, modesty suggested stealth
In simulating glowing health;
But now, alas, no shame restrains
Toilets performed in trams, in trains,
At table; for these candid days
Make nothing of the frank displays
Of carmine, lard and lanoline
To make plain Jane a beauteous queen.

Down thro’ the ages pig and sheep
Have tribute paid that men might weep
Or laugh or love or go quite mad
Because of lips in grease-paint clad.
Down thro’ the years, when heroes fall
Look not for mortal wound at all
Seek on his brow the thin red line
Of carmined lips – Eve’s fatal sign.

Poem – One Dull Man


Why did you play your spade in there? (said she).
I can’t think why you don’t take care (said she).
You fuss and fiddle with every card
As tho’ you found the game too hard
You hung on to your trumps until
They caught you napping. Really, Will,
You think and hesitate so long;
Then in the end you play it wrong.
Why, you can’t even call your hand.
You men! I cannot understand.
You are so stupid, dull and dense.
The game requires just common-sense.
But Bridge for you holds little gain:
Yet you’re supposed to have a brain (said she).

Tired? You? I hope I am no cat (said she)
But I must say I do like that (said she)
What about me? You go to town,
And gossip there with Smith and Brown.
And go to lunch and have a drink,
Yet in the evening you can’t think.
What about me? Your life’s the best.
Why should you crave for so much rest?
Ask any doctor. He will say
A business man should always play.
You should play more. You know you should.
A change of occupation’s good.
Yet, when I ask you to go out,
You say you’re tired and moon about.
What about me? Do I complain?
Why, it’s a wonder I keep sane
With all the dull monotony
That this existence holds for me.
You’ll tell me that I’m lazy soon.
Why, I played all the afternoon! (said she).

Did you, my dear? I didn’t know (said he).
Well, I suppose I must be slow (said he).
Yes, slow and dull. Again you’re right –
You always are . . .Heigh, ho! . . . Good night (said he).

Poem – The Alcoholic Albatross

Brothers, what are we to think
When we muse upon strong drink?
Is it bad or is it good?
Is it poison or is it food?

Albatrosses, so say some,
Find great benefit in rum,
And, in gratitude for nips,
Bring fair winds to troubled ships.

Others say the cocktail shaker
Is a noted trouble maker;
And declare that men stir up
Woe in every claret-cup.

But, so far as I’m concerned,
I may say I’ve never learned
Whether alcohol, in place,
Benefits the human race.

Take your choice. If you should think
Drink is good, why, have a drink;
But, if you are at a loss,
Give it to some albatross.

Wheat –  Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

‘Sowin’ things an’ growin’ things, an’ watchin’ of ’em grow; 

That’s the game,’ my father said, an’ father ought to know. 

‘Settin’ things an’ gettin’ things to grow for folks to eat: 

That’s the life,’ my father said, ‘that’s very hard to beat.’ 

For my father was a farmer, as his father was before, 

Just sowin’ things an’ growin’ things in far-off days of yore, 

In the far-off land of England, till my father found his feet 

In the new land, in the true land, where he took to growin’ wheat. 
Wheat, Wheat, Wheat! Oh, the sound of it is sweet! 

I’ve been praisin’ it an’ raisin’ it in rain an’ wind an’ heat 

Since the time I learned to toddle, till it’s beatin’ in my noddle, 

Is the little song I’m singin’ you of Wheat, Wheat, Wheat. 
Plantin’ things —- an’ grantin’ things is goin’ as they should, 

An’ the weather altogether is behavin’ pretty good —- 

Is a pleasure in a measure for a man that likes the game, 

An’ my father he would rather raise a crop than make a name. 

For my father was a farmer, an’ ‘All fame,’ he said, ‘ain’t reel; 

An’ the same it isn’t fillin’ when you’re wantin’ for a meal.’ 

So I’m followin’ his footsteps, an’ a-keepin’ of my feet, 

While I cater for the nation with my Wheat, Wheat, Wheat. 
Wheat, Wheat, Wheat! When the poets all are beat 

By the reason that the season for the verse crop is a cheat, 

Then I comes up bright an’ grinnin’ with the knowledge that I’m winnin’, 

With the rhythm of my harvester an’ Wheat, Wheat, Wheat. 
Readin’ things an’ heedin’ things that clever fellers give,

An’ ponderin’ an’ wonderin’ why we was meant to live —- 

Muddlin’ through an’ fuddlin’ through philosophy an’ such 

Is a game I never took to, an’ it doesn’t matter much. 

For my father was a farmer, as I might ‘a’ said before, 

An’ the sum of his philosophy was, ‘Grow a little more. 

For growin’ things,’ my father said, ‘it makes life sort o’ sweet 

An’ your conscience never swats you if your game is growin’ wheat.’ 
Wheat, Wheat, Wheat! Oh, the people have to eat! 

An’ you’re servin’, an’ deservin’ of a velvet-cushion seat

In the cocky-farmers’ heaven when you come to throw a seven; 

An’ your password at the portal will be, ‘Wheat, Wheat, Wheat.’ 
Now, the preacher an’ the teacher have a callin’ that is high 

While they’re spoutin’ to the doubtin’ of the happy by an’ by; 

But I’m sayin’ that the prayin’ it is better for their souls 

When they’ve plenty wheat inside ’em in the shape of penny rolls. 

For my father was a farmer, an’ he used to sit an’ grieve

When he thought about the apple that old Adam got from Eve. 

It was foolin’ with an orchard where the serpent got ’em beat, 

An’ they might ‘a’ kept the homestead if they’d simply stuck to wheat. 
Wheat, Wheat, Wheat! If you’re seekin’ to defeat 

Care an’ worry in the hurry of the crowded city street, 

Leave the hustle all behind you; come an’ let contentment find you 

In a cosy little cabin lyin’ snug among the wheat. 
In the city, more’s the pity, thousands live an’ thousands die 

Never carin’, never sparin’ pains that fruits may multiply; 

Breathin’, livin’, never givin’; greedy but to have an’ take, 

Dyin’ with no day behind ’em lived for fellow-mortals’ sake. 

Now my father was a farmer, an’ he used to sit and laugh 

At the ‘fools o’ life,’ he called ’em, livin’ on the other half.

Dyin’ lonely, missin’ only that one joy that makes life sweet —- 

Just the joy of useful labour, such as comes of growin’ wheat. 
Wheat, Wheat, Wheat! Let the foolish scheme an’ cheat; 

But I’d rather, like my father, when viv span o’ life’s complete, 

Feel I’d lived by helpid others; earned the right to call ’em brothers 

Who had gained while I was gainin’ from God’s earth His gift of wheat. 
When the settin’ sun is gettin’ low above the western hills, 

When the creepin’ shadows deepen, and a peace the whole land fills, 

Then I often sort o’ soften with a feelin’ like content, 

An’ I feel like thankin’ Heaven for a day in labour spent. 

For my father was a farmer, an’ he used to sit an’ smile,

Realizin’ he was wealthy in what makes a life worth while. 

Smilin’, he has told me often, ‘After all the toil an’ heat, 

Lad, he’s paid in more than silver who has grown one field of wheat.’ 
Wheat, Wheat, Wheat! When it comes my turn to meet 

Death the Reaper, an’ the Keeper of the Judgment Book I greet, 

Then I’ll face ’em sort o’ calmer with the solace of the farmer 

That he’s fed a million brothers with his Wheat, Wheat, Wheat.

Youth Revisited – Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

Can this be the old town of wheat-teams and saddle-hacks, 

Of Ted Toll’s smithy, with the anvil ringing clear, 

Of stacks in the station yard, and stockmen, and farming hands, 

Of bow-legged bound’ry riders coming in for beer 

This strange, new, brisk town of sweet-shops and petrol pumps 

Petrol pumps with motor cars dashing up and down? 

Yet there stands the old church, the bluestone baker’s shop, 

And the queer, shrunken houses of my old home town. 
What has become of him – Little Johnny Parkinson? 

Little Johnny Parkinson out upon a bust 

The long red beard of him, the red-rimmed eyes of him;

Red from the harvest field and winnower dust. 

Five foot two of him – Little Johnny Parkinson, 

Driving in his wheat team, down the dusty street; 

Red beard, red eyes, red bandana neckerchief 

Little Johnny Parkinson, who took his whiskey neat. 
What has become of him – Big Jack Herringford? 

Big Jack Herringford, champion of the stacks, 

Where the lumpers, laboring, climbed the crazy wooden ways 

One, two, three hundred pounds upon their backs. 

Big Jack Herringford, soft-hearted Hercules, 

Went to the West land and won a fortune there. 

Was the gold a bension to Big Jack Herringford? 

Does anybody know, or does anybody care? 
What has become of him – Black Tom Boliver? 

Black Tom, Dude Tom, of the shearing shed 

The bold, black eyes of him, the well-oiled curls of him, 

The cabbage-tree hat well back upon his head. 

What has become of them, all the men I used to know?

Only one I recognise of all men there; 

But one has a smile for me – schoolmate Jimmy Tomlinson 

Laughing Jimmy Tomlinson, with snow-white hair.

Winter – Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

Winter comes; and our complaints 

Grow apace as summer faints, 

Waning days grow dull and drear, 

Something tells, too well, I fear, 

That I’ve found a germ or two; 

Something seems – ee! – ah! Tish-OO. 
Subthig certigly does tell 

That I’b very far frob weel. 

Ad I’b cadging cold, I fear 

As the wading days grow near, 

Winter cubs; ad our complades 

Grow apace as subber fades.

Uncle Jim – Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

‘I got no time fer wasters, lad,’ sez ‘e, 

‘Give me a man wiv grit,’ sez Uncle Jim. 

‘E bores ‘is cute ole eyes right into me, 

While I stares ‘ard an’ gives it back to ‘im. 

Then orl at once ‘e grips me ‘and in ‘is: 

‘Some’ow,’ ‘e sez, ‘I likes yer ugly phiz.’ 
‘You got a look,’ ‘e sez, ‘like you could stay; 

Altho’ yeh mauls King’s English when yeh yaps, 

An’ ‘angs flash frills on ev’rythink yeh say. 

I ain’t no grammarist meself, per’aps, 

But langwidge is a ‘elp, I owns,’ sez Unk, 

‘When things is goin’ crook.’ An’ ‘ere ‘e wunk. 
‘Yeh’ll find it tough,’ ‘e sez, ‘to knuckle down. 

Good farmin’ is a gift—like spoutin’ slang. 

Yeh’ll ‘ave to cut the luxuries o’ town, 

An’ chuck the manners of this back-street gang; 

Fer country life ain’t cigarettes and beer.’ 

‘I’m game,’ I sez. Sez Uncle, ‘Put it ‘ere!’ 
Like that I took the plunge, an’ slung the game. 

I’ve parted wiv them joys I ‘eld most dear; 

I’ve sent the leery bloke that bore me name 

Clean to the pack wivout one pearly tear; 

An’ frum the ashes of a ne’er-do-well 

A bloomin’ farmer’s blossomin’ like ‘ell. 
Farmer! That’s me! Wiv this ‘ere strong right ‘and 

I’ve gripped the plough; and blistered jist a treat. 

Doreen an’ me ‘as gone upon the land. 

Yours truly fer the burden an’ the ‘eat! 

Yours truly fer upendin’ chunks o’ soil! 

The ‘ealthy, ‘ardy, ‘appy son o’ toil! 
I owns I’ve ‘ankered fer me former joys; 

I’ve ‘ad me hours o’ broodin’ on me woes; 

I’ve missed the comp’ny, an’ I’ve missed the noise, 

The football matches an’ the picter shows. 

I’ve missed—but, say, it makes me feel fair mean 

To whip the cat; an’ then see my Doreen. 
To see the colour comin’ in ‘er cheeks, 

To see ‘er eyes grow brighter day be day, 

The new, glad way she looks an’ laughs an’ speaks 

Is worf ten times the things I’ve chucked away. 

An’ there’s a secret, whispered in the dark, 

‘As made me ‘eart sing like a flamin’ lark. 
Jist let me tell yeh ‘ow it come about. 

The things that I’ve been thro’ ‘ud fill a book. 

Right frum me birf Fate played to knock me out; 

The ‘and that I ‘ad dealt to me was crook! 

Then comes Doreen, an’ patches up me parst; 

Now Forchin’s come to bunk wiv me at larst. 
First orf, one night poor Mar gits suddin fits, 

An’ floats wivout the time to wave ‘good-byes.’ 

Doreen is orl broke up the day she flits; 

It tears me ‘eart in two the way she cries. 

To see ‘er grief, it almost made me glad 

I never knowed the mar I must ‘ave ‘ad. 
We done poor Muvver proud when she went out 

A slap-up send-orf, trimmed wiv tears an’ crape. 

An’ then fer weeks Doreen she mopes about, 

An’ life takes on a gloomy sorter shape. 

I watch ‘er face git pale, ‘er eyes grow dim; 

Till—like some ‘airy angel—comes ole Jim. 
A cherub togged in sunburn an’ a beard 

An’ duds that shouted ”Ayseed!’ fer a mile: 

Care took the count the minute ‘e appeared, 

An’ sorrer shrivelled up before ‘is smile, 

‘E got the ‘ammer-lock on my good-will 

The minute that ‘e sez, ‘So, this is Bill.’ 
It’s got me beat. Doreen’s late Par, some way, 

Was second cousin to ‘is bruvver’s wife. 

Somethin’ like that. In less than ‘arf a day 

It seemed ‘e’d been my uncle orl me life. 

‘E takes me ‘and: ‘I dunno ‘ow it is,’ 

‘E sez, ‘but, lad, I likes that ugly phiz.’ 
An’ when ‘e’d stayed wiv us a little while 

The ‘ouse begun to look like ‘ome once more. 

Doreen she brightens up beneath ‘is smile, 

An’ ‘ugs ‘im till I kids I’m gettin’ sore. 

Then, late one night, ‘e opens up ‘is scheme, 

An’ passes me wot looks like some fond dream. 
‘E ‘as a little fruit-farm, doin’ well; 

‘E saved a tidy bit to see ‘im thro’; 

‘E’s gittin’ old fer toil, an’ wants a spell; 

An’ ‘ere’s a ‘ome jist waitin’ fer us two. 

‘It’s ‘ers an’ yours fer keeps when I am gone,’ 

Sez Uncle Jim. ‘Lad, will yeh take it on?’ 
So that’s the strength of it. An’ ‘ere’s me now 

A flamin’ berry farmer, full o’ toil; 

Playin’ joo-jitsoo wiv an’ ‘orse an’ plough, 

An’ coaxin’ fancy tucker frum the soil, 

An’ longin’, while I wrestles with the rake, 

Fer days when me poor back fergits to ache. 
Me days an’ nights is full of schemes an’ plans 

To figger profits an’ cut out the loss; 

An’ when the pickin’s on, I ‘ave me ‘an’s 

To take me orders while I act the boss; 

It’s sorter sweet to ‘ave the right to rouse…. 

An’ my Doreen’s the lady of the ‘ouse. 
To see ‘er bustlin’ ’round about the place, 

Full of the simple joy o’ doin’ things, 

That thoughtful, ‘appy look upon ‘er face, 

That ‘ope an’ peace an’ pride o’ labour brings, 

Is worth the crowd of joys I knoo one time, 

An’ makes regrettin’ ’em seem like a crime. 
An’ ev’ry little while ole Uncle Jim 

Comes up to stay a bit an’ pass a tip. 

It gives us ‘eart jist fer to look at ‘im, 

An’ feel the friendship in ‘is warm ‘and-grip. 

‘Im, wiv the sunburn on ‘is kind ole dile; 

‘Im, wiv the sunbeams in ‘is sweet ole smile. 
‘I got no time fer wasters, lad,’ sez ‘e, 

‘But that there ugly mug o’ yourn I trust.’ 

An’ so I reckon that it’s up to me 

To make a bloomin’ do of it or bust. 

I got to take the back-ache wiv the rest, 

An’ plug along, an’ do me little best. 
Luck ain’t no steady visitor, I know; 

But now an’ then it calls—fer look at me! 

You wouldn’t take me, ’bout a year ago, 

Free gratis wiv a shillin’ pound o’ tea; 

Then, in a blessed leap, ole Forchin lands 

A missus an’ a farm fair in me ‘ands.

War Song – Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

Sing a song o’ Hempire 

Mother’s took a fit, 

Nasty Germans buildin’ ships, 

An’ never mentioned it. 

Buildin’ beastly warships, 

Quite a tidy few; 

Mother’s got an awful start 

Baby’s got it too. 
The King was in the Customs House, 

But couldn’t find a penny ; 

The Lords were at their country seats 

And didn’t offer any; 

A millyun paupers mooned about 

With nothin’ much to eat, 

When down comes Australyer 

With a Dreadnought fer the fleet. 

Sing a song o’ Warships, 

‘Orrid ole Bulow, 

Layin’ down ‘is Dreadnoughts 

An’ didn’t let us know 

Didn’t advertise it, 

Till the Cablegram 

Spread the awful tidings 

An’ the Empire shouted, ‘Damn!’ 
Sing a song o’ Hempire, 

Mother’s up a tree; 

But the Melbourne Stock exchange 

‘As swore to set ‘er free. 

Does the German caitiff 

Build upon the sly? 

Then seventeen suburban may’rs 

Will know the reason why! 
Seventeen suburban may’rs 

Of the Bulldog Breed 

Fly to succor Hingland 

In her hour of need. 

What of ‘Constant Reader’? 

‘Pro Bono Publico’? 

Will ‘Subscriber’ see old Hingland 

Flabbergasted? No!! 
A reeiy, trooly battleship, 

With guns an’ things galore, 

And splendid sails of calico 

From MacMillan’s store 

The Stock Exchange will float it 

On a sea of gush. 

Wot’s two millyun quid to us? 

We don’t care a rush! 
(But – whisper – little mother, 

If, later on, some day, 

We want ter sorter float a loan, 

To ‘elp us on our way 

Borrer of it back, like 

After wot ‘as passed, 

Don’t you go an’ crool our pitch, 

Like you did the last.) 
Sing a song o’ Britain’s fleet 

(‘Ow the Tories raged!) 

That’s goin’ to guard Australyer 

(If not otherwise engaged). 

Sing of ‘Umpty Dumpty 

‘Im that ‘ad the fall. 

Rob Australian Peter 

To pay old Hinglish Paul. 
Sing o’ topsy-turvey; 

Sing of inside-out, 

Of back-to-front and upside-down 

An’ t’other way about. 

Spend ten bloomin’ millyun, 

Buy yer ships galore, 

An’ send them all to Hingland 

To guard Australyer’s shore. 
Sing a song o’ Hempire! 

We’ve got ter guard ‘the heart.’ 

If it gets a limb lopped off, 

That ain’t a vital part. 

Learn ter think Imperially 

Shriek with courage grim 

Fer ‘the heart’ must be protected 

Tho’ it’s tough if we’re the limb.

To A Dead Mate  – Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

There’s many a man who rides today 

In the lonely, far out-back; 

There’s many a man who makes his way 

On a dusty bushland track; 

There’s many a man in bush and town 

Who mourns for a good mate gone; 

There are eyes grown sad and heads cast down 

Since Henry has passed on. 
A mate he was, and a mate to love, 

For mateship was his creed: 

With a strong, true heart and a soul above 

This sad world’s sordid greed. 

He lived as a mate, and wrote as a mate 

Of the things which he believed. 

Now many a good man mourns his fate, 

And he leaves a nation grieved. 
True champion he of the lame and halt: 

True knight of the poor was he, 

Who could e’er excuse a brother’s fault 

With a ready sympathy. 

He suffered much, and much he toiled, 

With his hand e’er for the right: 

And he dreamed and planned while the billy boiled 

In the bushland camp at night. 
Joe Wilson and his mates are sad, 

And the tears of bushwives fall, 

For the kindly heart that Henry had 

Had made him loved of all. 

There’s many a man who rides today, 

Cast down and sore oppressed; 

And thro’ the land I hear them say: 

‘Pass, Henry, to your rest.’

Wanderers Lost  – Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

Oh, we are the phantoms of rovers lost 

See how the mocking mirages play! 

Men who have ventured and paid the cost. 

Lone, waiting women, ’tis vain to pray! 

We dies unshriven, as rovers die, 

And no man knows where our white bones lie. 

Black birds gather when rovers stray, 

Out where the mocking mirages play. 
A maiden has waited a long year thro’. 

Mark where a crow from the northward flies! 

‘Ah, can he be false that had sworn so true?’ 

They say that a wanderer woos with lies. 

A maiden has waited and counted the days, 

Since a lover went roving the northward ways. 

What do they profit – unheeded sighs? 

Mark where a crow from the northward flies! 
Out in the desert a still thing lies. 

Westward the sun is sinking low. 

Who is to mourn when a rover dies? 

Hark! ‘Tis the caw of a sated crow. 

Who is to tell of a mad’ning thrist 

Of a lonely death in a land accurst? 

Merciful God! Is she ne’er to know? 

(Hark to the caw of a sated crow.) 
Oh, we are the legion that never came back 

Ever have rovers to count the cost. 

Men who went out on the waterless track. 

Curst is the plain that was ne’er recross’d! 

Restless to roam o’er the desert our doom, 

Till our end shall be known and our bones find a tomb. 

Mourn for the souls of wanderers lost, 

Ever have rovers to count the cost.

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.

A Beauty Hint – Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

Sweet, think how much the better it would be 

If you thro’ life should thus preserve your beauty. 

It really doesn’t matter much to me; 

But don’t you think you owe the world a duty, 

And don’t you think that thro’ some kindly thought – 

Of me, for instance – beauty were well bought? 
Those wrinkles on your face, dear, 

Those bags beneath your eyes 

Are but the evil trace, dear, 

Of temper, spite and lies. 

Why can’t you be a saint, dear, 

Like dear old Joan of Arc; 

Be pleasant – which you ain’t, dear, 

And do not be a nark. 
Consider, sweetheart, if you smiled always 

How much, thro’ weeks, your face might be improving; 

In place of which, in these unhappy days, 

You go to beauty shops for the removing 

Of wrinkles, blemishes and ugly warts. 

Why, when a smile will serve, seek these resorts? 
Why can’t you raise a grin, sweet, 

And be a little beauty? 

For ugliness is sin, sweet, 

And loveliness a duty. 

So, for my sake, why can’t you make 

An effort to he glad. 

Just think of me and joyful be; 

For I am not too bad.

A Few Lines To Beauty – Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis


You with the bobbed hair or Mary Pickford curls, 

Likewise you others 

Who still adopt the hair-dressing style, 

That makes the moderns smile. 

But was undoubtedly the dearest attribute of your mothers. 

And, by the by, 

You with the glad-eye – 

We’ve seen you in the street 

Looking particularly sweet. 

And we ask you 

Do you think that those girls in the city that is reputed to possess a harbor 

can overtask you? 

In the matter of looking nice – 

We do not seek to give advice; 

And, frankly, we don’t know. 

We have seen both types and so, 

Being diplomatic, 

We refrain from expressing an opinion that is too emphatic. 

We’ll leave it to the vote, 

Yet hasten to remark that we simply dote 

Upon the maiden who 

Is just like you, 

Fair reader! 

We seek not to assume the office or prerogative of a special pleader. 

And we own that this question of State Rights 

Gives us uneasy dreams o’ nights. 

Take no notice of those churls 

Who tell you that the Sydney girls 

Can put it all over you in regard to female beauty. 

My dears, you have a duty 

At any rate, 

Toward your State. 

Go in 

And Win! 

Among you are undoubtedly quite a number of perfect peaches 

And the sirens of the Sydney beaches 

May yet be proved to be not exactly the pick of the basket. 


With or without curls, 

The honor of your State and the noble men therein ask it. 

Here I conclude. 

And I trust that these few well-chosen remarks have not been in bad taste or 


A Bush Christmas – Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

The sun burns hotly thro’ the gums 

As down the road old Rogan comes 

The hatter from the lonely hut 

Beside the track to Woollybutt. 

He likes to spend his Christmas with us here. 

He says a man gets sort of strange 

Living alone without a change, 

Gets sort of settled in his way; 

And so he comes each Christmas day 

To share a bite of tucker and a beer. 
Dad and the boys have nought to do, 

Except a stray odd job or two. 

Along the fence or in the yard, 

‘It ain’t a day for workin’ hard.’ 

Says Dad. ‘One day a year don’t matter much.’ 

And then dishevelled, hot and red, 

Mum, thro’ the doorway puts her head 

And says, ‘This Christmas cooking, My! 

The sun’s near fit for cooking by.’ 

Upon her word she never did see such. 
Your fault,’ says Dad, ‘you know it is. 

Plum puddin’! on a day like this, 

And roasted turkeys! Spare me days, 

I can’t get over women’s ways. 

In climates such as this the thing’s all wrong. 

A bit of cold corned beef an’ bread 

Would do us very well instead.’ 

Then Rogan said, ‘You’re right; it’s hot. 

It makes a feller drink a lot.’ 

And Dad gets up and says, ‘Well, come along.’ 
The dinner’s served – full bite and sup. 

‘Come on,’ says Mum, ‘Now all sit up.’ 

The meal takes on a festive air; 

And even father eats his share 

And passes up his plate to have some more. 

He laughs and says it’s Christmas time, 

‘That’s cookin’, Mum. The stuffin’s prime.’ 

But Rogan pauses once to praise, 

Then eats as tho’ he’d starved for days. 

And pitches turkey bones outside the door. 
The sun burns hotly thro’ the gums, 

The chirping of the locusts comes 

Across the paddocks, parched and grey. 

‘Whew!’ wheezes Father. ‘What a day!’ 

And sheds his vest. For coats no man had need. 

Then Rogan shoves his plate aside 

And sighs, as sated men have sighed, 

At many boards in many climes 

On many other Christmas times. 

‘By gum!’ he says, ‘That was a slap-up feed!’ 
Then, with his black pipe well alight, 

Old Rogan brings the kids delight 

By telling o’er again his yarns 

Of Christmas tide ‘mid English barns 

When he was, long ago, a farmer’s boy. 

His old eyes glisten as he sees 

Half glimpses of old memories, 

Of whitened fields and winter snows, 

And yuletide logs and mistletoes, 

And all that half-forgotten, hallowed joy. 
The children listen, mouths agape, 

And see a land with no escape 

Fro biting cold and snow and frost 

A land to all earth’s brightness lost, 

A strange and freakish Christmas land to them. 

But Rogan, with his dim old eyes 

Grown far away and strangely wise 

Talks on; and pauses but to ask 

‘Ain’t there a dropp more in that cask?’ 

And father nods; but Mother says ‘Ahem!’ 
The sun slants redly thro’ the gums 

As quietly the evening comes, 

And Rogan gets his old grey mare, 

That matches well his own grey hair, 

And rides away into the setting sun. 

‘Ah, well,’ says Dad. ‘I got to say 

I never spent a lazier day. 

We ought to get that top fence wired.’ 

‘My!’ sighs poor Mum. ‘But I am tired! 

An’ all that washing up still to be done.’

A Ballad Of Freedom – Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

Now Mr. Jeremiah Bane 

He owned a warehouse in The Lane, 

An edifice of goodly size, 

Where, with keen private enterprise, 

He sold imported napery 

And drapery – and drapery. 

His singlets and his socks were sent 

Out over half the continent; 

In clothing for the nursery 

And mercery – and mercery 

He plied a most extensive trade, 

And quite enormous prodfits made, 

And barracked, with much fervency, 

For foreign-trade – described as ‘Free.’ 

He said, 


It was 

His creed. 

The trade described as Free. 
And this good man was known to fame 

For charity; indeed, his name 

Shone often in the daily press. 

When needy folk were in distress 

He aided – (with publicity) 

Mendicity – mendicity. 

And though much cash he thuswise spared 

There still were people who declared 

His act of private charity 

A rarity – a rarity. 

Donations, duly advertised, 

From business point of view, he prized; 

But ‘good by stealth’ he ne’er could see 

Was any use to such as he. 

But still, 

The press, 

With much 


Declared his hand was free. 
Now Mr. Bane’s employees were 

Wont to address the boss as ‘Sir,’ 

To show him most intense respect; 

And there were few who would neglect 

To couple with civility 

Humility – humility. 

They dressed in cheap but pretty clothes, 

And ev’ry man turned up his nose 

And scorned familiarity 

Or parity – or parity 

With ill-dressed toilers who ‘combined.’ 

They thought proceedings of that kind 

Were of a very ‘low’ degree, 

For they were ‘cultured,’ don’t you see. 

‘Tis true 

Their pay 

Was mean, 

But they 

Felt proud to be so free. 
Though they were vilely underpaid 

They were too proud – or else afraid 

To advertise the fact abroad 

Or see to get a Wages Board. 

Besides their meek servility, 

Gentility – gentility 

Forbade so rash an act; but still 

One man there was – (his name was Bill) 

Who vowed their fool propensity 

Was density – was density 

An unenlightened state of mind, 

A lack of wit that made them blind. 

‘You’re but a lot of worms,’ said he. 

‘If you were men you’d clearly see 


You band 

And make 

A stand 

You never can be free.’ 
And ev’ry day this person, Bill, 

Conversed with them of unions till 

They owned his arguments were true, 

And one by one waxed eager to 

Embrace an opportunity 

For unity – for unity. 

They talked about a Wages Board 

Which, formerly, they had abhorred, 

And girded at their slavery 

With bravery – with bravery. 

Each man began to feel ‘The Firm’ 

No longer owned it for its worm; 

Their independence they could see 

Achieved by simple unity; 


Their clothes 

And mixed 

With those 

Who battle to be free. 
When Mr. Bane one morning heard 

About his thing he cried, ‘Absurd! 

They’ll never get my clerks to horde 

With those who seek the Wages Board, 

And lose respectability! 

Futility! – Futility! 

My clerks are gentlemen who’d scorn 

To mingle with the lowly born. 

Such bosh I’ve never heard!’ said he. 

‘Absurd!’ said he – ‘Absurd!’ said he. 

‘As for their pay, they’re quite content 

They’ve never asked an extra cent! 

And in 

The morn 

They’ll mark 

Their scorn, 

And show you they are free.’ 
And on the morrow Mr. Bane 

Called them together to ‘explain’: 

‘I have a small petition here 

But first, I wish to make it clear,’ 

Said he, with simple gravity 

And suavity – and suavity, 

‘That no man here is asked to sign.’ 

(His voice was gentle and benign) 

‘I trust to your humanity 

And sanity – and sanity 

To guide you; but I feel quite sure 

That Wages Boards you can’t endure. 

I leave it all to you,’ said he. 

‘It makes no difference to me. 

My views 

Are known, 

But still, 

I’ve shown 

Your choice in this is free.’ 
The staff it looked at Mr. Bane, 

And in his eye it read, quite plain, 

‘Neath that expression so benign, 

The fate of him who did not sign 

A vision of futurity 

Obscurity – obscurity 

A dearth of work – in short, the sack. 

They knew that he who answered back 

Would earn, by his temerity, 

Severity – severity. 

So one and all, with shaky pen, 

Signed this refusal to be men…. 

But surely, as you must agree, 

Their choice was free as it could be, 

They said 

The Board 

They all 


Preferring to be free. 
Still Mr. Bane grows fat and sleek, 

And still, at thirty bob a week, 

His clerks slave on from morn till night, 

No hope of better things in sight. 

But Bane, with much benignity 

And dignity – and dignity, 

When talk of Wages Board is heard, 

Declares the notion is absurd: 

‘My clerks with prompt celerity 

And verity – and verity 

Refused the thing with one accord. 

The clerks themselves don’t want the Board! 

It is preposterous,’ says he, 

‘To force it on who don’t agree 

And still 

His men 

With brain 

And pen 

To fatten him are free.