Bridles for Butterflies

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

They must not talk....That strong and silent creature,
The male of homo sapiens, bears the ban
With calm aplomb. Speech is a trivial feature
 In any sport conducted by mere man.
Thus, when our flannelled Knights go forth to battle,
They dumbly concentrate upon the game.
But must athletic Eve refrain from prattle
Because of that? No, no! 'Tis not the same.

Sauce for the goose, 'tis said, is sauce for gander,
And vice versa. Futile euphony!
To differentiate, defer and pander
Was e'er the rule when dealing with the 'She.'
Sharp hooks in ears of elephants may steer them
Quite painlessly. But what sane man would try
To harness doves, or bring a halter near them,
Or bit and bridle to a butterfly?

They must not talk....Such order to a shrinking,
Press-dodging cricketer brings small distress,
But, listen girls, what sort of sloppy thinking
Seeks to extend it to the cricketress?
Go, tell the bee she may not buzz in summer
'Mid honeyed bloom. Go, bid the bush birds 'Hush!'
Emus are dumb indeed - could scarce be dumber;
But who, for that, would gag the singing thrush?

So, when you note the agonised expression
On Short-stop's flower-like face, the look of pain
That lurks 'neath Long-on's lip-stick, 'tis repression
That irks them temporarily; but in vain.
For, soon or late, the prisoned flood, o'erflowing
Each carmined lip, down thro' the land shall spill
To what far field man ne'er had means of knowing.
They must not talk? ... Sez you! ... They must - and will.

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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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"Bridles for Butterflies" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 11 Aug. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/6240/bridles-for-butterflies>.

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