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Mutton

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



In the everlasting summer, when the town is limp with heat,
and the asphalt of the footpath curls your boots and burns your feet:
When you're creased and crabbed and sodden, and can hardly raise a crawl,
And the persperation's drippin' in a constant waterfall;
There's a penetratin' odor gets abroad and fairly roars;
It will creep in through the keyholes and it sneaks beneath the doors;
And it fills your happy home up from the cellar to the roof,
Until ev'ry other odour holds its breath and stands aloof.

That's Mutton! Mutton!
Everlastin' Mutton!
All-pervadin', never-fadin' smell of cookin' sheep.
Into ev'ry room 'twill roam, chasin' you from house and home,
Mutton flaunted, mutton-haunted, even in your sleep.

You can smell it in the parlour, you can feel it in the hall,
you can HEAR it in the kitchen, where it hugs you like a pall,
Hov'ring o'er your couch at midnight, wafting thro' your troubled sleep:
First to greet you in the mornin' when the day begins to peep.
Seek you vainly to evade it in an open-air retreat,
It will rise and upper-cut you, from the gratin's in the street.
Vain are all your disinfectants, for they fail the woes to drown
Of a mutton-ridden people in a mutton-scented town.

Oh, the irony of hearin' songs about the home, sweet home;
When you swelter in an oven where the kitchen odours roam.
When each kindly word is wafted on a mutton-scented breeze,
And each sigh stirs up remembrance of a week of hashed-up teas;
Where endearing terms are flavoured with a touch of mutton raw,
And you sample last week's dinner, ev'ry tender breath you draw.
Do you wonder that our home-life isn't what it ought to be?
Do you know what sets us drinkin', in our abject misery?
It's Mutton! Mutton!
Soul-destroyin' Mutton!
Over-cloudin', odour-shroudin' all in life that's bright;
By a thoughtless movement stirred, chokin' down a kindly word,
Ever-present, effervescent, mornin', noon and night.

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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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