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The Also-Ran



I know I'm dull. I know I got a brain
That's only fit fer fertilizin' 'air.
I don't arst for bokays: I ain't that vain;
But fair is fair.
An' when yeh think yer somethin' uv a man,
It 'urts to find yerself a also-ran.

'Urts like one thing. To git sent to the pack
When you 'ave 'ad idears you're ace an' king
An' all the pitcher cards down to the jack
Is like to sting
Yer vanity. I thort I was some use,
An' now I'm valyid as a 'umble dooce.

Don't mind my sulks. I s'pose I 'as swelled 'ead;
But gittin' snouted ain't wot I expeck.
Aw, they can 'ave it on their own! I'm full
Up to the neck!
Never no more! I chuck good works right 'ere. . .
But lets start frum the start an' git it clear.

I own I used me nut. Fer marriage brings
Experience to stop yeh actin' rash.
I've missed the step before through rushin' things,
An' come a crash.
I planned it out all careful frum the start;
Me taticks was a reel fine work uv art.

Me problem's this: The noos 'as to be broke
Concernin' Rose. Doreen 'as to he told.
The 'ow an' when that bit uv noos is spoke
I've learnt uv old.
I'm shrood. I wait. I watch me chance to act.
The trick's to know the time an' place exact.

You blokes unmarrid ain't got no idear
Uv 'ow successful 'usbands works their 'eads.
It's like a feller strugglin' to keep clear
A thousand threads.
Once let 'em tangle, an' you take the blame.
You're up to putty; an' yeh've lost the game.

I picks a nice, calm, cozy, peaceful night.
The suppper things is washed; the kid's in bed
(I 'elped to wipe the plates) the fire burns bright;
  An' then I led
The tork around to tales uv Ginger Mick,
Cunnin' an' crafty like, an' not too quick.

'Funny,' I sez, 'that we should mention Mick.
In town I met that girl - (Wot's 'er name? Rose)
By accident. Poor thing looks orful sick. . . .
Well, I suppose
She 'as 'er worries. . . . Lost 'er job, yeh know.'
Doreen don't take much int'rest. She sez, 'Oh?'

'Yes,' I goes on; 'a bit uv country air
Is wot she needs. She's very sick - an' low.
She seemed - well - sort uv - 'opeless with.... despair.'
Doreen sez, 'Oh?'
It's 'eavy goin'; but I sticks it, grim.
Poor Mick!' I sez. 'I often think uv 'im.

'Poor Mick!' I sez. (Well, any'ow, I mean
Them words) 'If you 'ad seen that girl, my dear,
You'd arst 'er up to stay.' 'Why,' sez Doreen,
'She's comin' 'ere
On Choosday next.' (I jist choke back a shout)
'That's why I got the spare room tidied out.'

'She's wot?' . . . I can't say more. 'Well,' sez me wife,
 'Seein' you arst 'er, why all this su'prise?'
Seein' you 'ad a fight, an' risked yer life,
An' got black eyes,
An' played the 'ero, as the parson says,
You ort to know. I've knowed,' she sez, 'fer days.'

Snowy! To think that parson cove would go
An' let me down to flounder in the mud,
An' scheme, an' lie, an' work the game reel low,
To come a thud!
'Yeh mean to say,' I arsts, mad as can be,
'Yeh've fixed all this without consultin' me?

'Yeh mean to say I 'ave n't got the right
To know wot's goin' on in my own 'ouse?
Yeh mean to say - 'There, Bill,' she sez, 'keep quite.
Why should you rouse?
You told me nothin'. Parson wrote to me;
An' we fixed things without yer 'elp,' sez she.

Women! She sits an' tells me this dead cold!
To think I've worked an' worried till I'm tired,
An' squeezed me brain a treat, jist to be told
 i ain't required!
'You was too modest, Bill, to let me 'ear
About that fight,' she sez. 'Now, were n't you, dear?'

Modest? Aw, well. I s'pose I am - a bit.
A feller can't go skitin' all 'is days.
But, spite uv 'er nice way uv takin' it,
An' all 'er praise
An' that, I got to own I'm feelin' 'urt
Fer to git treated like a bit uv dirt.

Nex' mornin' I ain't feelin' none too good:
That snub still 'urt. I potter round about;
Then go across to where 'e's choppin' wood
To 'ave it out
With Wally Free about 'is thievin' cow.
But that pie-faced galoot won't 'ave a row.

I'll 'ave the lor on 'im, I tells ' im straight.
Me fence 'er out? 'E's got to fence 'er in!
The lor sez that. But all the lors I state
Jist gits a grin.
That's all. 'E grins a sight too much, that bloke.
Clean through the piece, I seem to be the joke.

I know I'm dull. I know me brain's jist meant
To nourish 'air-roots. But I 'ave me pride.
An' when I toils an' frets, an' then gits sent
To stand aside,
I know me place: I don't need to be shown.
I'm done! An' they can 'ave it on
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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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