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The Hidden City



It was the schooner Desperate
That sailed the southern sea,
And the skipper had brought his little daughter
To our centenary.
Blue were her eyes and plucked her brow,
Where she wore a golden curl.
Yet, 'spite her looks, she was somehow
A shrewd, observant girl.

But and spake an old sailor
Who had been that way before
'I pray don't land at yonder port
Lest your girl count it a bore.
Last year the town had a handsome street,
This year no street we see.'
'Why?' asked the skipper. 'Poles,' said the tar.
And a sneering laugh laughed he.

For an alderman had spoken,
Who had known the ropes long since,
And he said, 'Where are them sticks an' rag
We had for that other Prince.
Let's stick 'em up in the street again.'
Said the mayor, 'Don't be a quince.
We'll have some new bright painted ones;
And let the aesthetes wince.'

'Father,' the skipper's daughter cried
'No fair city I see.'
'It is behind them decorations, lass
Them candy sticks you see.'
'But, father, why do they stand there,
All orange smeared and red,
Like garish clowns in a stately street?'
'Search me,' the skipper said.

'Oh, father! What are those nightmare things,
Those gadgets brightly lit?
Let us away on urgent wings,
Or I fear I'll have a fit.'
'Courage, my child,' the skipper said.
Curb your aesthetic sense,
And close your eyes and cover your head,
And I shall bear you hence.

'Come hither, come hither, my little daughter,
And do not tremble so.'
He wrapped her up in his seaman's coat.
'Come,' said he, 'let us go
Out where no poles or pylons are,
And no centenary,
To a scene that no man's hand may mar.'
And he steered for the open sea.

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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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