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Bottle-O Benny

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



Chuff! Chuff! Chuff! With a rumble and a rattle,
Waking every echo on the old bush road;
Waking, too, the wonder of the wayside cattle
With the clatter of his engine and his strange, mixed load;
With his front wheels a-wobble and his back brake squealing,
Skirting here the table-drain, grazing there a tree,
His hand upon the steering, but his mind upon his dealing,
Comes Bottle-o Benny in his old Model T.

'Any ole iron, sir? Fat, sir? Bottles, sir?
Cast-off clobber, or any ole rags?
(Pretty sticky patch that, down by the wattles, sir.)
Any ole machinery or secon'-and bags?
Charf bags, bran bags? Taken 'em orf yer 'an's, sir
Best city prices, spot cash. That's me!
This 'ere dealin' life's as 'ard as any man's, sir.'
Says Bottle-o Benny from his old Model T.

He pokes about the rubbish heap; he roots around the stable there;
He loiters in the lumber-shed and says, 'Times is lean.
Give you 'arf-a-dollar, now, for that ole table there.
Square an' all an' honest, sir, I'd 'ardly make a bean!
Yes; I've counted up the bottles; two dozen's wot I make 'em, sir.
Wot? Them sauce an' pickle 'uns?
But, jist for ole acquaintance like, I'll rid yer 'an's an' take 'em, sir.'
And he magically packs them in his old Model T.

Chuff! Chuff! Chuff! With a rattle and a rumble,
Off goes Benny by the Burnt Stump Bend.
His echoes scarce have died away ere Mum begins to grumble:
Where's that copper kettle that I put out to mend?'
And Lil says, 'Last year - (I've always had a feeling)
Last year a clothes-line went when Benny went,' says she.
But Benny won't be back again for twelve months, dealing
For unconsidered trifles in his old Model T.

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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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