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Earth's Oldest Show

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

Not in our public parks, for private gain.
This centuries-old precursor of all dramas
That lured babes in old Italy and Spain
To plague for pence their medieval mamas.
Not for the modern child: this crude display
Of brutal bouts with staves, or battles fictic;
So wise and reverend city elders say.
But we might get lighted fountains .... 'Ow hartistic!

Not in our playgrounds may the showman pitch
His box of tricks that, from our great-gand-daddies
And their great-great-grand-daddies, drew those rich,
Fat chuckles of pure joy, when they were laddies.
Not for our bairns: that vulgar figure, Punch
With his hypocrisy and moods plenetic,
His Mammoth nose, his ugly, malformed hunch.
But we might have colored fountains .... 'Ow hesthetic!
Not Punch: that wicked well-loved reprobate,
Beneath false jocularity concealing
A world of mordant and malicious hate;
Beneath his leer, sad lack of all nice feeling.
Not Judy: feckless spouse, doomed ne'er to know
Domestic peace, but e'er to find some rift in
The matrimonial lute. A sordid show!
But illuminated water! .... So hupliftin'.

Ponder effects upon the plastic mond:
Police made victims of a murderer's revel!
Infanticide! Wife beating! Then to find
A crude portrayal of a personal devil!
It must creat false values, such low life
As Punchinello and his gang would paint it.
A homicidal crook with half-wit wife!
But we might have rainbow fountains .... 'Ighbrow, hain't it?

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:11 min read

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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    "Earth's Oldest Show" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 8 Mar. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/6303/earth's-oldest-show>.

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