The Vision

Of things that roam about the bush I ain't got many fears,
For I knows their ways an' habits, and I've chummed with them for years.
For man or beast or gully ghost I've pluck enough to spare;
But I draws the line at visions with the sunlight in their hair.

When a man has fought an' conquered it is good in many ways:
There's the pride in having done it, an' the other fellows' praise;
There's the glory an' the standin' that you get among the men
All their looks are more respectful since I socked it into Ben.

I was feelin' fine this mornin' when I started out to work;
An' I caught myself high-steppin' with a boastful sort of jerk;
With my head a trifle higher an' my eye a little stern.
I thought the world was mine for keeps; but I'd a lot to learn.

Young Dick, the Dusty, wasn't half as cheeky as of old;
The men were actin' friendly-like, but I kept kind of cold
An' distant, as becomes a bloke who's scored a knock-out thump
Till just approachin' dinner time; an' then I got my bump.

It's fine to see your cobbers lookin' at you like the know
You're not a man to trifle with; at least, I found it so.
Ben Murray was quite affable, an' once he whispered me
There's a certain somethin' doin', an' he'll see me privately.

I was workin' at the rip saw, cursin' at my achin' back,
When I saw the blessed vision comin' down the log-year track.
There were others in the party, but the one that got my stare
Was her with two brown, laughin' eyes an' sunlight in her hair.

'More visitors!' growled old man Pike.  'Another city push.
I'll bet a quid they ask us why we 'spoil the lovely bush.'
I hardly heard him saying it, for like a fool I stand,
My eyes full of the vision an' a batten in my hand.

'You gone to sleep?' the sawyer said.  'What's got you mesmerized?'
I start to work like fury, but my thoughts can't be disguised.
'Oh, Jim's gone dippy with the Spring'; replies old Pike an' grins.
I turn to answer dignified; but trip, an' bark my shins.

Next thing I know the boss is there, an' talkin' fine an' good.
Explaining' to the visitors how trees are made of wood.
They murmur things like 'Marvellous!' an' 'What a monster tree!'
An' then the one with sunlit hair comes right bang up to me.

'I saw you fall,' she sort of sung: you couldn't say she talked,
For her voice had springtime in it, like the way she looked an' walked.
'I saw you fall,' she sung at me.  'I hope you were not hurt.'
An' suddenly I was aware I wore my oldest shirt.

'It never hurt me half as much as your two smilin' eyes.'
That's how I could have answered her - and watched old Pike's surprise
'It never harmed me half as much as standin' here like this
With tattered shirt an' grimy hands' . . . But I just says, 'No, Miss.'

'Oh, no,' I says.  'We're pretty hard, an' have to take them cracks.'
(But just to see her sudden smile, made me as soft as wax.)
'You're strong,' she smiles.  I answers, 'Oh, I'm pretty strong, all right.'
An' close behind I heard old Pike observin', 'Hear 'im skite!'

That finished me.  I lost what little nerve I had, an' grew
Dead certain that I looked a fool, an' that she thought so, too.
She talked some more; but I can't tell what other things she said.
I went all cold, except my ears, an' thye were burnin' red.

I only knew her eyes were soft, her voice was kind an' low.
I never spoke another word exceptin' 'Yes' an' 'No.'
I never felt a bigger chump in all my livin' days,
Well knowin' I was gettin' worse at every word she says.

An' when she went off with the rest I stood there, lookin' sick.
Until I caught a chance remark of little Dirty Dick.
'What price the widders now?' says he.  I answer fierce an' low:
'Were you addressin' me?' I says; an' Dick was prompt with 'No!'

I don't know how I finished up; my thoughts were far from clear;
For, in between me an' the bench, that vision would appear.
No other man chucke doff at me, but by their looks 'twas plain
I'd lost a bit of that respect it took a fight to gain.

An', when the knock-off whistle blew, Ben Murray he came by,
An' says he'd like that private talk, but, 'Pickle it,' says I.
''Twill have to keep til later on.'  He answers, 'As you like.'
Soon after that I saw him talkin' earnest with old Pike.

If I'd been right, I might have known there's somehting in the air
By the way the blokes were actin'; but a fat lot did I care.
Swell visions an' the deadly pip was what was wrong with me.
I slung a word to my old dog, an' we trudged home to tea.

An' after, in the same old way, we sits beside the fire,
To have a talk, my dog an'
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

4:33 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic heptameter
Characters 4,454
Words 906
Stanzas 19
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 2

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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