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An Old Man Muses

Can it be I - this Hindenburg, deferring
To demagogues, catch phrases, lucky charms
And all this mummery about me stirring?
Can it be I, lord of high feats of arms,
Smiling complancence on a rabble's blunders,
Counting a mountebank amongst my peers
I, who commanded with the voice of thunders?
Ah, what a role betrays me with the years!

Can it be I - condoning, cavallering
This sorry paint-and-tinsel paladin.
This braggart upstart, raging, racketeering
Like some cheap western gangster 'muscling in,'
Apeing the arts in which I loomed a master:
Acting with arms as children play with toys:
Mouthing fierce phrases, pregannt with disaster,
To lure brief loyalty from brain-sick boys?

Can it be I who saw the vision splendid
Shaping before these ageing eyes of mine,
When half a world, before my day had eneded,
Hurtled its might against my stubborn Line?
The Line of Hindenburg! the natons raging
Before an avatar who reached the sky! ...
And now? - A hapless figurehead, fast ageing,
The mighty Hindenburg! Can this be I?

Strange trick of Fate ... And yet, sometimes I wonder,
While factions rage and puny tyrants bray,
If victory might yet be snatched for blunder
Till gloriously dawned against The Day!
If - To what end? Youth seeks in other fashion
It's destiny. 'Tis world-worn age that drools
Of glories gone ... Enough to veil compassion
With weary tolerance. Poor dupes! Poor fools!

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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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