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A Hymn Of Heat

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



When Summer comes
To silence the retreating drums
Of stubborn Winter, when content
Shall salve my chill predicament.
And I shall loll beneath the sun
And dream of duties to be done;
While Phyllis my tall beaker fills
And Strephon dances on the hills
And pipes a lay, I'll take my ease
And listen to the labouring bees.
And mock their dull industrious hums
When Summer comes.

When Summer's here
And labourers look upon their beer
Most lovingly, while winking foam
Lisps, 'Send me home! Ah, send me home!'
And they, intoning briefly, ''Sluck!'
Its gladness 'neath their pinnies tuck,
I, too, mayhap, shall send a pot,
Spurlos versunken, to that spot
Its magic warms; lest that stern man
Who rules my dietetic plan
Burbles, 'Verboten!' as I fear
When Summer's here.

When Summer shines,
Then to blue seas my choice inclines
Where nymphs upon the golden sands
Hold out Nirvana in glad hands,
Or run to greet the languorous sea
And, with mer-maiden modesty,
Frisk in foam. Then would I seize
Despite my ageing arteries
Joy by the beard! Unless, alack,
A flock of olden ills come back,
As come they will, by all the signs,
When Summer shines.

When Summer comes
Oh, let me loll 'neath sunlit gums
Yet, I don't know. A man must eat,
Come winter hail or summer heat;
And, that he eat, a man must toil.
Aye, tho' arterial systems boil.
Wherefore, 'twill likely be my lot,
As hitherto when days wax hot,
To yearn again in longing lays
For brisk, crisp, Winter's bracing days
To earn a few poor meagre crumbs
When Summer comes.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:23 min read
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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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