Accent Conscious

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

Trouble brews along the border for the word has got around
That blokes an' coves an' coots must mind their tongues;
Out about the long dry stages
Where the willie-willie rages
Strange sounds are issuing from leathern lungs.
Vowels, consonants and diphthongs in the old bark hut take place
Of the talk of clips or cattle or 'wot won the 'urdle race.'

For the world grows regimented and the olden orders pass
With those ancient heroes that we knew of old.
Out beyond the sandy ranges
Culture grows and fashion changes
And a bloke has got to talk the way he's told.
For the craze of 'standardising' has Australia in its grip,
And Lawson's friends, Joe Wilson, and his mates have got the pip.

These old battlers, so accustomed to the old Australian drawl,
 Find it hard to knuckle down to modern ways.
Tho' the purists may deride them,
'Twas their speech identified them,
For they talked the Aussie lingo all their days.
But the Man from Snowy River strives to change his 'Oi' to 'I;'
And Clancy of the Overflow now wears an old school tie.

I have long since sought the reason why all men should be as peas
 In speech, in thought, in action, e'en in strife.
Uniformity around them
Serves but further to confound them,
Since it washes all the color out of life.
But the bloke who beat the favorite now sports jodhpurs with an air,
And the Man from Ironbark marcels his hair.

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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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"Accent Conscious" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 9 Aug. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/6170/accent-conscious>.

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