Uncle Jim

'I got no time fer wasters, lad,' sez 'e,
'Give me a man wiv grit,' sez Uncle Jim.
'E bores 'is cute ole eyes right into me,
 While I stares 'ard an' gives it back to 'im.
Then orl at once 'e grips me 'and in 'is:
'Some'ow,' 'e sez, 'I likes yer ugly phiz.'

'You got a look,' 'e sez, 'like you could stay;
 Altho' yeh mauls King's English when yeh yaps,
An' 'angs flash frills on ev'rythink yeh say.
 I ain't no grammarist meself, per'aps,
But langwidge is a 'elp, I owns,' sez Unk,
'When things is goin' crook.' An' 'ere 'e wunk.

'Yeh'll find it tough,' 'e sez, 'to knuckle down.
Good farmin' is a gift—like spoutin' slang.
Yeh'll 'ave to cut the luxuries o' town,
An' chuck the manners of this back-street gang;
Fer country life ain't cigarettes and beer.'
'I'm game,' I sez. Sez Uncle, 'Put it 'ere!'

Like that I took the plunge, an' slung the game.
I've parted wiv them joys I 'eld most dear;
I've sent the leery bloke that bore me name
Clean to the pack wivout one pearly tear;
An' frum the ashes of a ne'er-do-well
A bloomin' farmer's blossomin' like 'ell.

Farmer! That's me! Wiv this 'ere strong right 'and
I've gripped the plough; and blistered jist a treat.
Doreen an' me 'as gone upon the land.
Yours truly fer the burden an' the 'eat!
Yours truly fer upendin' chunks o' soil!
The 'ealthy, 'ardy, 'appy son o' toil!

I owns I've 'ankered fer me former joys;
I've 'ad me hours o' broodin' on me woes;
I've missed the comp'ny, an' I've missed the noise,
The football matches an' the picter shows.
I've missed—but, say, it makes me feel fair mean
To whip the cat; an' then see my Doreen.

To see the colour comin' in 'er cheeks,
To see 'er eyes grow brighter day be day,
The new, glad way she looks an' laughs an' speaks
Is worf ten times the things I've chucked away.
An' there's a secret, whispered in the dark,
'As made me 'eart sing like a flamin' lark.

Jist let me tell yeh 'ow it come about.
The things that I've been thro' 'ud fill a book.
Right frum me birf Fate played to knock me out;
The 'and that I 'ad dealt to me was crook!
Then comes Doreen, an' patches up me parst;
Now Forchin's come to bunk wiv me at larst.

First orf, one night poor Mar gits suddin fits,
An' floats wivout the time to wave 'good-byes.'
Doreen is orl broke up the day she flits;
It tears me 'eart in two the way she cries.
To see 'er grief, it almost made me glad
I never knowed the mar I must 'ave 'ad.

We done poor Muvver proud when she went out
A slap-up send-orf, trimmed wiv tears an' crape.
An' then fer weeks Doreen she mopes about,
An' life takes on a gloomy sorter shape.
I watch 'er face git pale, 'er eyes grow dim;
Till—like some 'airy angel—comes ole Jim.

A cherub togged in sunburn an' a beard
An' duds that shouted ''Ayseed!' fer a mile:
Care took the count the minute 'e appeared,
An' sorrer shrivelled up before 'is smile,
'E got the 'ammer-lock on my good-will
The minute that 'e sez, 'So, this is Bill.'

It's got me beat. Doreen's late Par, some way,
Was second cousin to 'is bruvver's wife.
Somethin' like that. In less than 'arf a day
 It seemed 'e'd been my uncle orl me life.
'E takes me 'and: 'I dunno 'ow it is,'
'E sez, 'but, lad, I likes that ugly phiz.'

An' when 'e'd stayed wiv us a little while
The 'ouse begun to look like 'ome once more.
Doreen she brightens up beneath 'is smile,
An' 'ugs 'im till I kids I'm gettin' sore.
Then, late one night, 'e opens up 'is scheme,
An' passes me wot looks like some fond dream.

'E 'as a little fruit-farm, doin' well;
'E saved a tidy bit to see 'im thro';
'E's gittin' old fer toil, an' wants a spell;
An' 'ere's a 'ome jist waitin' fer us two.
'It's 'ers an' yours fer keeps when I am gone,'
Sez Uncle Jim. 'Lad, will yeh take it on?'

So that's the strength of it. An' 'ere's me now
A flamin' berry farmer, full o' toil;
Playin' joo-jitsoo wiv an' 'orse an' plough,
An' coaxin' fancy tucker frum the soil,
An' longin', while I wrestles with the rake,
Fer days when me poor back fergits to ache.

Me days an' nights is full of schemes an' plans
To figger profits an' cut out the loss;
An' when the pickin's on, I 'ave me 'an's
To take me orders while I act the boss;
It's sorter sweet to 'ave the right to rouse….
An' my Doreen's the lady of the 'ouse.

To see 'er bustlin' 'round about the place,
Full of the simple joy o' doin' things,
That thoughtful, 'appy look upon 'er face,
That 'ope an' peace an' pride o' labour brings,
Is worth the crow
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

4:28 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 4,314
Words 872
Stanzas 17
Stanza Lengths 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 5

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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