Antarctic Pioneers

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

Because some unimportant man
In politics talks loud and high,
Or some wild, economic plan
To lift depression takes his eye,
The apathetic citizen
Pays little heed in these dark days
To Mawson and his merry men
Back from the desolate sea ways.

'A rather chilly trip,' says he,
What time the page he idly flicks,
With visions of an ice-bound sea,
Then turns again to politics.
Fish, fur and iceberg, seal and whale;
He gives the thing a passing glance
And misses all the wondrous tale
With all its high significance.

Because the voyagers return
With no tale that the mind beguiles
Of mystic caves where jewels burn
And treasure lies about in piles.
We turn aside with weary sighs;
The story hasn't 'pep' enough.
And, after all, what profit lies
In all this scientific stuff?

But, later, when this ice-locked wealth
By sturdy labor is set free;
And fortne comes, almost by stealth,
Out of a wild Antarctic sea,
We'll come with tardy praises then,
And look back gladly thro' the years
For Mawson and his merry men,
To set them with the Pioneers.

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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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