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A Thermometrical Ballade

Edward George Dyson 1865 (Ballarat, Victoria) – 1931 (Saint Kilda, Melbourne, Victoria)

There’s a wind up that licks like a flame,
And the sun is a porthole of hell.
Now evanish prim notions of shame,
And the craving to look rather well –
In pyjamas you’re never a swell,
And you’ve chosen some roomily made.
Oh! for ices these pangs to dispel
It’s one hundred and nine in the shade!

We have limped in from tennis. That game ! –
I’d as soon with the damned where they dwell
Stoke a furnace and bathe in the same!
There’s no drink human craving to quell,
Not thin chablis nor sweet muscatel.
Never more shall we see, I’m afraid,
The cool shallows, the pale asphodel.
It’s one hundred and nine in the shade.

You recline an invertebrate frame
In the moisture your atoms expel,
‘Gainst the fates very feebly declaim,
All too limp to rise up and rebel.
Action flies and mosquitoes compel.
We make pitiful fight ‘gainst the raid
With a cloying and nauseous smell
In one hundred and nine in the shade.

ENVOY
Here might solids of Hamlet dispel.
Quick the answer to prayer that he prayed.
Human flesh turns to dew ‘neath the spell
Of one hundred and nine in the shade.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Edward George Dyson

Edward George Dyson, or 'Ted' Dyson, was an Australian journalist, poet, playwright and short story writer. He was the elder brother of illustrators Will Dyson (1880–1938) and Ambrose Dyson (1876–1913), with three sisters also of artistic and literary praise. Dyson wrote under several – some say many – nom-de-plumes, including Silas Snell. In his day, the period of Australia's federation, the poet and writer was 'ranked very closely to Australia's greatest short-story writer, Henry Lawson'. With Lawson known as the 'swagman poet', Ogilvie the 'horseman poet', Dyson was the 'mining poet'. Although known as a freelance writer, he was also considered part of The Bulletin writer group. more…

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