A Matter Of Privacy

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



Ben Bowyang spluttered with rage suppressed, 'Hi, there!'  And his brow was black,
As two by two and three by three the tourists left the track,
Climbing the fence to his 'tater' patch, and down thro' his orchard land,
Flannelled or fashioned in strides and shorts - a saucy suburban band -
Giggling gambolling into his yard calling inane 'Cooees'
While Bowyang frothed at the mouth and fumed.  But his voice was a futile wheeze,
And, heading the horde, in a blazer bright, monarch of all he surveyed,
Strode little Fitzmickle, the martinet, a Don in the drapery trade.

'You've trampled me taters,' Bowyang roared.  'Pinched bloom from me orchard bough!
You've pelted me poddies an' dished me fence!  Look at that nettin' now!
Ain't you no respeck for a privit home, you towerist coots from town?'
But Mr Fitzmickle, he turned on his heel with a very superior frown.
'Come, ladies,' he said, 'come, gentlemen.  Unmannerly rustic brute!
My card, with name and address, my man, if you wish to prosecute.'
Then back they trampled thro' the 'tater' patch, back o'er the orchard land,
While Bowyang gaped like a stranded fish, with the pasteboard cluthed in his hand.

Mr Fitzmickle, the martinet, sat in his smug retreat -
A very respectable villa set in a very respectable street.
For Mr Fitzmickle found harbor here when the contry boors came down
To dawdle about for their Show-week spree and clutter the streets in town.
Then in to him rushed his terrified wife, eyes wide, and breathing hard.
'Come quick!' she gasped.  'There's a mob of roughs gone crazy in our back yard!
They've trampled herbaceous borders down, they've kicked the canary's cage -'
'Enough!' cried Fitzmickle, all pink with wrath; and his rage was a ratepayer's rage.

Poker in hand, he rushed without; but paused by the scullery door
For there, on his seedlings, trodden and tossed, stood one whom he'd seen before.
And, gathered about in the burgeoning beds, were strangely silent men;
Till one with a beard spoke up and said, 'Explain to the gentleman, Ben.'
Ben Bowyang smiled, and his voice was bland as he said, 'Aw, well; we're 'ere
Jist sorta returnin' yer social call as you made on us last year.
My card!'  And he bounced a clod from the face of the proud Fitzmicklian cat
But Mr Fitzmickle oblivious lay.  He was having a fit on the mat.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

2:05 min read
96

Quick analysis:

Scheme AABBCCDD EEFFGGBB HHFFIIJJ KKLLXXMM
Characters 2,294
Words 415
Stanzas 4
Stanza Lengths 8, 8, 8, 8

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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