A Mixed Crew

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

Tho' it sounds a trifle mystic,
Somewhat vague and cabbalistic,
When you come to analyse the inner side
Of political alliance
You will find it is a science
That embraces matters delicate and wide.
It involves the close cohesion of the faction or cabal,
And the very fleeting friendship of the temporary pal.

But pull for the shore, lads, pull for the shore.
Never mind wot boat yer in, struggle at yer oar.
Cook is on the gunwale, cursin' us fer cows;
Deakin's in stern-sheets. Mauger's at the bows;
The stormy winds are blowin' an' the enemy's at hand;
We must settle it among us when we're safely on the land.

There's the Temporary Fusion;
Which is mainly an illusion
When you view it in the light of ev'ry day.
But politically? - truly
'Tis a state in which, unduly,
You are never pledged or promised either way.
An ideal party union, where a man may trim his sail;
Though vulgar folk allude to it as 'sitting on a rail.'

But pull for the shore, lads, pull for the shore.
We'll settle in the harbour when the hurricane is o'er.
Quick is partly inside; Irnine's partly out;
Wille Kelly's overside, floundering' about;
Forrest's at mast'ead, letting out a roar.
Never mind who owns the boat. Pull for the shore.

Then there's the Coalition,
Which is entered on condition
You can swallow certain principles with ease.
'Tis corruption sugar-coated;
And no matter how you've voted
In the past, you may change it if you please.
Though the common crowd may scoff at the reversal of your vote,
If you murmur 'Coalition' you may safely turn your coat.

But pull for the shore, lads, pull for the land.
Never mind who owns the craft, lend a willin' hand.
Smith is on the bowsprit, yellin' 'Anti-Sosh'!
Reid is on the towline, draggin' in the wash;
Jawbone Neild is founderin', shoutin' for a rope;
But pull, lads, pull, for the shore's our only hope.
Note you now the Understanding,
Quite devoid of party branding,
Where the parties undertake to understand
That, in certain set conditions,
They'll consider their positions,
And reach out for what they want with either hand.
And for the country's welfare and the nation's lasting good,
They agree to understand that they are all misunderstood.

But pull for the shore, lads, pull for the shore.
Groom is on the fore'atch with 'arf a dozen more;
Knox is in the chart-room makin' up his mind;
Wilks is on a hen-coop, draggin' on behind.
Never mind the company; only keep afloat.
You can't be too particular who's mannin' of the boat.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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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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"A Mixed Crew" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 12 Aug. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/6156/a-mixed-crew>.

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