Welcome to Poetry.com

Poetry.com is a huge collection of poems from famous and amateur poets from around the world — collaboratively published by a community of authors and contributing editors.

Navigate through our poetry database by subjects, alphabetically or simply search by keywords. You can submit a new poem, discuss and rate existing work, listen to poems using voice pronunciation and even translate pieces to many common and not-so-common languages.

'Got-a-Fag'

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

He was tall and tough and stringy, with the shoulders of an axeman,
Broad and loose, with greenhide muscles, and a hand shaped to the reins;
He was slow of speech and prudent, something of a nature student,
With the eye of one who gazes long across the saltbush plains.

Smith by name, but long forgotten was his legal patronymic,
In a land where every bushman wears some unbaptismal tag;
And, through frequent repetition of a well worn requisition,
'Smith' had long retired in favor of the title, 'Got-a-Fag.'

Not until the war was waging for a month, or may be longer,
Did the tidings reach the station, blest with quite unfrequent mails;
And, though still a steady grafter, Smith grew restless ever after,
And he pondered long o' evenings, seated on the stockyard rails.

Primed with sudden resolution, he arose one summer morning,
Casually mentioned fighting as he deftly rolled his swag;
Then, in accents almost hearty, bade his mate, 'So long, old Party!
Goin' to do some Square-head huntin'. See you later. Got a fag?'

Six long, sunburned days in saddle, down through spinifex and saltbush,
Then a two-days' railroad journey landed him at last in town,
Charged with an aggressive feeling, heightened by his forthright dealing
With a shrewd but chastened spieler who had sought to take him down.

'Smart and stern' describes the war-lord who presided at recruiting.
To him slouched an apparition, drawling, 'Boss, I've got a nag -
Risin' four. Good prad he's counted. Better shove me in the mounted.
Done a little bit o' shootin' - gun an' rifle. Got afag?'

Two months later, drilled and kneaded to a shape approaching martial,
Yet with hints of that lithe looseness discipline can never kill,
With that keen eye grown yet shrewder, and example to the cruder,
Private Smith (and, later, Sergeant) stinted speech and studied drill.

'Smith,' indeed, but briefly served him; for his former appellation
In its aptness seized the fancy of the regimental wag,
When an apoplectic colonel gasped, 'Of all the dashed infernal'....
As this Private Smith saluted, with 'Ribuck, boss! Got a fag?'

What he thought, or how he marvelled at the familiar customs
Of those ancient and historic lands that met his eyes,
He was never heard to mention; though he voiced one bold contention -
That the absence of wire fences marked a lack of enterprise.

Soon his shrewd resourse, his deftness, won him fame in many places;
Things he did with wire and whipcord moved his Company to brag,
And when aught concerning horses called for knowledge in the forces
Came a hurred, anxious message: 'Hang the vet! Send Got-a-Fag!'

Then, one morning, he was missing, and a soldier who had seen him
Riding for the foe's entrenchments bade his mates abandon hope.
Calm he seemed, but strangely daring: some weird weapons he was bearing
Built of twisted wire and iron, and a dozen yards of rope.

In the morn a startled sentry, through the early morn-mists peering,
Saw a dozen shackled foemen down the sand dunes slowly drag.
Sore they seemed, and quite dejected, while behind them, cool, collected,
Swearing at a busy sheep-dog, rode their drover, Got-a-Fag.

To the Colonel's tent he drove them, bransishing a stockwhip featly,
Bristly calling, 'Heel 'em, Laddie!' While the warrior of rank
Sniffed, and then exclaimed with loathing: 'what's this smell of clothing buring?'
Said the drover: 'Got 'em branded: 'A - Broad Arrow,' off-side flank.'

'A,' he drawled, stan's for Australia, an' the Gov'ment brand's in order.
'Crown - G.R.' upon the shoulder marks 'em for the King an' flag.
Roped the blighters same as how we fix the calves on Kinchacowie.
But it's dead slow sorter must'rin',' he concluded. 'Got afag?'

When the weary war is over, back to his old cattle station,
If luck holds, he'll one day journey, casually dropp his swag,
Drawling, 'Been up yonder - fightin'....Not much doin'....Mostly skitin'....
Gi' me drovin' for excitement...Want rain dreadful....Got a fag?'

But in that historic country, with its store of ancient legend,
When they sit to talk at even, and grey geards begin to wag,
Then among traditions hoary they will count the wondrous story
Of that wild Australian savage known to man as Got-a-Fag.

Rate this poem:(0.00 / 0 votes)
Font size:
Collection  Edit     
 

Submitted on May 13, 2011

3:38 min read
80 Views

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…

All Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis poems | Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis Books

FAVORITE (0 fans)

Discuss this Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis poem with the community:

0 Comments

    Translation

    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)

    Citation

    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:

    Style:MLAChicagoAPA

    "'Got-a-Fag'" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 26 Jan. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/6349/'got-a-fag'>.

    We need you!

    Help us build the largest poetry community and poems collection on the web!

    More poems by

    Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

    »

    Quiz

    Are you a poetry master?

    »
    "I walk down the garden paths, and all the daffodils are blowing"
    • A. Emily Dickinson
    • B. Gwendolyn Brooks
    • C. Elizabeth Barrett Browning
    • D. Amy Lowell

    Our favorite collection of

    Famous Poets

    »

    Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.