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A Different Route

Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis 1876 (Auburn) – 1938 (Melbourne)

Say you have some great objective.
Very well. Be calm, reflective;
Make no vulgar show of vigor; 'tisn't good.
Do not rush the thing directly;
But approach it circumspectly,
As a gentlemanly politician should.
Though certain consequences hinge upon the laws you make,
Your prestige in high politics rests with the road you take.

For the common sort of fellows,
With enthusiastic bellows,
Rush about and shout their schemes in ev'ry ear;
In their shirt-sleeves, toiling, fretting,
And most vulgarly a-sweating,
Quite without a thought or care how they appear.
And if they do arrive at things a trifle in advance
Their strenuous endeavors go to prove their ignorance.

Have a care for your appearance
If you claim the least adherence
To the genteel game of politics as played
By right-thinking politicians,
Who 'consider their positions'
Once a week, while common business is delayed.
And shun, O, shun that fearsome fellow eager for a spurt,
And the man who, metaphorically, labors in his shirt.

What though others rush before you?
What though busy folk ignore you?
Draw your gloves on carefully and take your stick.
Having chosen your direction,
Then proceed, with circumspection,
Stepping out with dignity - but not too quick.
If mere workers are before you, that is what you must expect;
But reflect, with satisfaction, that your route is more select.

Then, pray, have no hesitation
Should you find your destination
Is the same as that of him that humps the load
In declaring that your action
Gives you perfect satisfaction,
As you reached the place by quite another road.
Ignore his paltry claim to being first - such was his whim;
But emphasise the fact that you disdained to follow him.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis, better known as C. J. Dennis, was an Australian poet known for his humorous poems, especially "The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke", published in the early 20th century. Though Dennis's work is less well known today, his 1915 publication of The Sentimental Bloke sold 65,000 copies in its first year, and by 1917 he was the most prosperous poet in Australian history. Together with Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson, both of whom he had collaborated with, he is often considered among Australia's three most famous poets. While attributed to Lawson by 1911, Dennis later claimed he himself was the 'laureate of the larrikin'. When he died at the age of 61, the Prime Minister of Australia Joseph Lyons suggested he was destined to be remembered as the 'Australian Robert Burns'. more…

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