Arch Criminal

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

When muddled mentors take the stage
To gird against our erring,
They simulate an awful rage,
They funk the task and straight engage
A palpable red-herring.
Fearing at higher marks to aim,
The futile knuckle-rapper,
With flaming words of bitter blame,
Plays at the rather outworn game
Of 'Flagellate the Flapper.'

Altho', my sweet, you may be neat
And winsome, too, from head to feet,
In face and form a nymph complete,
  In manner softly winning;
One touch of powder Number Two,
And heaven's gates are closed to you;
Tho' still ajar for those who do
This sad world's heavy sinning.

The man whose greed outstrips his need
(While lesser folk deplore it)
Is due for stern rebukes indeed.
Yet, gently, brother; Why give heed
To this? Be wise; ignore it.
For, lo, this fellow may be rich
Of social rank delectable.
For bwetter curn the urgent itch
To censure, lest you hurt him; which
Would hardly be repectable.

So, precious pet, they'd fain forget
Sins of the mighty, while they fret
O'er lip-stick, rouge and cigarette,
And graver sinning palliate.
As Public Enemy you rank
Now No. 1 for those who shrank
Ever from bigger game, and thank
Their stars you can't retaliate.

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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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"Arch Criminal" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 9 Aug. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/6195/arch-criminal>.

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