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The I'd like to be........ series

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

The Sailor
I'd like to be a sailor - a sailor bold and bluff -
Calling out, "Ship ahoy!" in manly tones and gruff.
I'd learn to box the compass, and to reef and tack and luff;
I'd sniff and sniff the briny breeze and never get enough.
Perhaps I'd chew tobacco, or an old black pipe I'd puff,
  But I wouldn't be a sailor if ...
  The sea was very rough.
  Would you?

The Porter
I'd like to be a porter, and always on the run,
Calling out, "Stand aside!" and asking leave of none.
Shoving trucks on people's toes, and having splendid fun,
Slamming all the carriage doors and locking every one -
And, when they asked to be let in, I'd say, "It can't be done."
  But I wouldn't be a porter if ...
  The luggage weighed a ton.
  Would you?

The Pieman
I'd like to be a Pieman, and ring a little bell,
Calling out, "Hot pies! Hot pies to sell!"
Apple-pies and Meat-pies, Cherry-pies as well,
Lots and lots and lots of pies - more than you can tell.
Big, rich Pork-pies! Oh, the lovely smell!
  But I wouldn't be a Pieman if ...
  I wasn't very well.
  Would you?

The Barber
I'd like to be a barber, and learn to shave and clip,
Calling out, "Next please! and pocketing my tip."
All day I'd hear my scissors going, "Snip, Snip, Snip;"
I'd lather people's faces, and their noses I would grip
While I shaved most carefully along the upper lip.
  But I wouldn't be a barber if ...
  The razor was to slip.
  Would you?

The Teacher
I'd like to be a teacher, and have a clever brain,
Calling out, "Attention, please!" and "Must I speak in vain?"
I'd be quite strict with boys and girls whose minds I had to train,
And all the books and maps and things I'd carefully explain;
I'd make then learn the dates of kings, and all the capes of Spain;
  But I wouldn't be a teacher if ...
  I couldn't use the cane.
  Would you?

The Postman
I'd like to be a postman, and walk along the street,
Calling out, "Good Morning, Sir," to gentlemen I meet,
Ringing every door-bell all along my beat,
In my cap and uniform so very nice and neat.
Perhaps I'd have a parasol in case of rain or heat;
  But I wouldn't be a postman if ...
  The walking hurt my feet.
  Would you?

The Baker
I'd like to be a baker, and come when morning breaks,
Calling out, "Beeay-ko!" (that's the sound he makes) -
Riding in a rattle-cart that jogs and jolts and shakes,
Selling all the sweetest things a baker ever bakes;
Currant-buns and brandy-snaps, pastry all in flakes;
  But I wouldn't be a baker if ...
  I couldn't eat the cakes.
  Would you?

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:31 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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