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.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

1:23 min read
92

Quick analysis:

Scheme ABABCDCXAE FGFGHIHIFI ABAXJEJEAE KLKLMDMDKD
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…

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