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The Last Sundowner

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



He sat upon a fallen log
And heaved a long, deep sigh.
His gnarled hand fondling his old dog
As his gaze went to the sky.
"There goes another pane," said he
"A soarin', roarin' pest!
They robs a man of privacy,
An' motor cars of rest."

"Sundownin' ain't the game ut was
Since men have took to wings;
An' life grows narrer, jist because
Of plans an' cars an' things.
For the planes have pinched me privit skies
An' the cars have grabbed me earth
An' all the news by wireless flies;
So what's sundownin' worth?

"Time was when I could sit me down
Where man had left no sign,
An' earth an' sky for miles aroun'
For that one hour was mine.
And I could sit an' think me thorts
An' watch the sun go west
Without no crazy ingine's snorts
To break into me rest.

"And as the afternoon grew late
I'd seek the haunts of men,
An' at some lonely homestead gate
I'd have sure welcome then;
An' tucker-bags were gladly filled,
And rest found for my back,
In ‘change for bits of news I spilled
And gossip of the track.

"But now that wireless spreads its lies
From this and other lands,
They look on me with hard, cold eyes
An' give with grudgin' hands.
It's them that has to give me news;
And when I seek some wide,
Once silent scene, planes spoil me views,
An' cars honk me aside."

He sat upon a fallen log
And heaved a long, deep sigh:
"We're agein', me an' my ole dog,
An' old things have to die.
Sundownin's dead; men's minds an' ways
Is changin' with a jerk.
Seems like I'll have to end me days,
Travellin'; in search of work."

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:32 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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