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The Broken-Teapot

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

Mum's bit of egg money on the mantelpiece
In the broken teapot in the olden days,
Hardly earned and hoarded there,
Much content afforded there
Long before inspectors came and bureaucratic ways.
But science by the barn-door rules the farmer's lot
And Mum's bit of egg-money dwindles in the pot.

Ever since the first years this was mother's perquisite,
Eggs daily gathered by the old barn door,
From the stable gathered in,
From the shed and fodder bin,
Carted in and traded at the small town store;
Gathered from the wayward hen laying far afield
As the new-cleared acres gave their golden yield.

Long it was a stand-by while the kids were little ones
Mum's broken teapot resting on the shelf
Some print to make a dress for Lil,
Sunday boots for Joe and Bill,
A loan to Dad and, now and then, a trifle for herself:
Growing heavy Christmas time by dint of watchful thrift
To buy a little Christmas cheer and here and there a gift.

But Mum's bit of egg-money grows a thing of history,
And Mum's broken teapot an heirloom now indeed,
Since Science ousts the picturesque;
And Dad has bought an office desk
To puzzle o'er official rules and size and weight and breed.
But Mum is brooding darkly o'er the forbidden egg,
Which, like a furtive gangsteress, she threatens to bootleg.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:11 min read
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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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