A Quest for Tophet

'Twas a hell of a Hell they glimpsed, my son,
In superstitious days
When cultured man had scarce begun
To shed barbaric ways:
With gridirons set above the flame
For naughty gentlemen.
Who uttered lies that earned them blame
And righteous folk condemn.
'Twas a terrible sort of a Hell, my son,
That crude man pictured then.

But picture a land laid waste, my lad,
In scientific style,
While supermen of a world gone mad
Plan forms of torture vile;
While innocent children fight for breath
In a gas-filled city's street,
And mothers of men call on kind Death
As a friend whose kiss is sweet.
If you're looking about for a Hell, my lad,
You will find this hard to beat.

'Twas the deuce of a Devil they raised, my son,
To rule in their ancient Hells
Horns and a tail, yet a figure of fun,
With a hint of the cap and bells.
With a fork for weapon, he roamed the earth
To garner the souls of men,
Who had slipped from grace: and, with shouts of mirth,
He pitched them into his Pen.
'Twas a humorous sort of a Devil, my son,
That dull folk fled from then.

But picture a Devil at work, my boy,
In his foetid chemical lair.
As he brews Hell broths with a ghoulish joy
To foul god's clean sweet air.
Picture a Devil with bombs on high -
Mass murderer, reeking sin,
As he rains gaunt death from a smiling sky,
And goes, with a maniac grin.
If you're seeking a Devil sans mercy, boy,
He is here, 'neath your Brother's skin.

Font size:
Collection  PDF     

Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

1:23 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 1,381
Words 273
Stanzas 4
Stanza Lengths 10, 10, 10, 10

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…

All Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis poems | Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis Books

1 fan

Discuss the poem A Quest for Tophet with the community...



    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:


    "A Quest for Tophet" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 22 May 2024. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/6162/a-quest-for-tophet>.

    Become a member!

    Join our community of poets and poetry lovers to share your work and offer feedback and encouragement to writers all over the world!

    More poems by

    Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis


    May 2024

    Poetry Contest

    Join our monthly contest for an opportunity to win cash prizes and attain global acclaim for your talent.

    Special Program

    Earn Rewards!

    Unlock exciting rewards such as a free mug and free contest pass by commenting on fellow members' poems today!

    Browse Poetry.com


    Are you a poetry master?

    In poetry, the word "foot" refers to _______.
    A a unit of 12 lines
    B one stanza
    C two or more syllables
    D a dozen poems