Fust Mate Joe

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

'E's a tough ole salt,
With a 'ide well tanned,
An' it ain't 'is fault
If the craft is manned
With a motley sort er crew.
An' it is a mixed-up crew.
But 'e's sailed, 'as 'e, on many a sea,
An' e's journeyed nigh an' fur;
'E's a tough ole, rough ole - not to mention gruff ole,
Bluff ole mar-i-ner

Fer 'e sailed among
The Labor Seas
When 'e wus young;
An' since that 'e's
Been on all sorts o' craft
And 'fore the mast 'o craft.
Fer ther ain't no boat that's bin afloat
As 'e don't know ev'ry spar;
This sly ole, fly ole, mind-yer-weather-eye ole,
Spry ole deep-sea tar.

Once in the ship
'E took a trip
As a 'fore-mast man,
An' e transhipped in mid-sea,
Did 'e
Went overside at sea.
Frum a Freetrade raft to a 'Tection craft
'E knows 'em stem to starn.
'E's ratin' as a great un at the art of navigatin',
An' 'e ain't got much to larn.
To watch 'im skip,
 On 's nimble feet,
Frum ship to ship
Is a 'igh ole treat.
Fer 'e don't stop long on none.
'E's done
A fair, long cruise on none.
But 'e's larned a lot from the points 'e got
Since 'is cruisin' fust began,
This saine old smarty, sail-with-any-party,
Hearty aailor-man.

Now 'e's signed fust mate
Fer another trip,
Fer to naviprate
The Fusion ship;
An' a crazy craft she is.
An' a frail ole tub she is.
With a crew o' sorts from all the ports,
An' a chance o' mutinee.
But 'e'll see the vessel thro' it, if there's any man kin do it,
Fer a hard ole salt is 'e.

Fer the best o' mates
 Is 'im thet's got
 From the 'ole darn lot,
When the stormy winds do blow.
When the windy storms do blow.
On a Tory tramp 'is callin' damp
'E 'as managed to pursoo.
Now 'e 'as to larn twin-screw ways - with 'er nose a-pointin' two ways,
An' a fair ole rorty crew.

But 'is eye's glued tight
On the compass face,
An' 'e'll make a fight
Fer the anch'rin' place,
Fer the Harbor o' Recess.
O, yes,
There's a harbor at Recess.
An' 'e'll do it yet, with luck, you bet,
Fer 'e' allus bin at sea.
An' there ain't no glummer salt, lightly-go-an'-comer salt,  
Rummer sort o'somer-salt than 'e.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

2:10 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic trimeter
Characters 2,017
Words 409
Stanzas 6
Stanza Lengths 11, 11, 22, 11, 11, 11

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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