Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis 1876 (Auburn) – 1938 (Melbourne)
Old Pete Parraday, he isn't very wise
Or so the local gossips say - They love to criticise
His crazy views and values, and the things he counts worth while.
'Better had he saved his money,' say his critics, with a smile;
'And not become a pensioner with all his silly chat
Of finches, wrens and robins, and such trivial thngs as that.
It's livin' lonely all these years has filched his brains away.'
'An' left me kind o' peacefuller,' grins old Pete Parraday.
Old Pete Parraday, he sits beside the road
Resting from the hefting of his week-end load:
Bread and meat and groceries to serve his simple need,
And a tiny paper packet with the tag, 'Bird Seed.'
'I allus gits three-pennyworth - I've never needed more
For them there little Pommy-birds wot hops about me door
Goldfinches, starlings an' stranger-folk like they
Wot ain't brung up to grubs an' things,' says old Pete Parraday.
'The robins likes their meal-worms; the blue-wrens tackles grubs;
Grey thrushes goes for take-alls like the boozers goes for pubs;
But the little vegetarians for food has far to roam;
An' so I buys 'em bird-seed to make 'em feel at 'ome
Goldfinches, sichlike, them little stranger-folk . . .
I know 'ow people counts me soft an' reckons I'm a joke
When I talks about me bird friends. I've seed 'em nudge an' wink.
But I valyers them there mates o' mine. Cos why? They makes me think.
'They makes me think of beauty, of the glory of the earth,
An' they leads me on to dreamin'. An' wot is dreamin' worth?
Some folk might call it crazy; but it's heaven's gift to me.
Aye, vision sich as never is or was by land or sea.
Man cannot live by bread alone, nor dreams be put in words;
An', if I'm mad, I'm happy mad, an' talkin' to me birds.
Three-pennyworth o' bird-seed counts more to me that way
Then all the wealth of Sheba's queen,' says old Pete Parraday.
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