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.