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Country Pubs

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

We know those little country pubs,
By cross-road and by creek,
Where faithfully the landlord scrubs
His counter once a week,
And stands before his shining bar
To cater for man's thirst
With all the best; but where the meals are
He caters with the worst.

'Wottle you 'ave?' There's beer or brandy,
Rum or half-and-half or shandy.
Wine or whisky. Bottles wink
'Wottle you 'ave, boys? Name your drink' ...
But in the grimy dining room
A slattern lass of grease and gloom
Intones in accents charged with grief:
'Wottle you 'ave? There's corn-beef.'

In the bar the talk grows gay,
The landlord beams, for trade agog,
And yokels wile dull hours away
Idly yarning o'er their grog ...
But in that cave of gastric woes
Grimly the hungry traveller eats,
To end by turning up his nose
And hoping to fill up on sweets.

'Wottle you 'ave?' - The cups are cloudy.
Linen soiled. The waitress dowdy,
Comes like an avenging fate
Snatching at the greasy plate
Soggy cabbage; soapy 'spuds'
Droning flies and smell of suds.
Now she whines, like some lost soul:
'Wottle you 'ave? There's jam-roll.'

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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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