Frank the Jester

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

There's joy in legislative halls
When Frank's in opposition;
But gloom upon the Chamber falls
When Frank holds high position.
His merry japes no longer flit
About the House to mellow it,
For cares of office dull his wit
And mar his life's great mission.

Frank's mission - and a high one, too,
Amongst the chiefest rating
Is to infuse come joy anew
Into the dull debating.
When speakers drone and lose their grip,
And every member has the pip,
Up rises Frank with merry quip
And humor scintillating.

But as a Minister, alack,
His ready wit grows clouded.
For higher roles he takes the sack;
For in a House enshrouded
By weariness, when members sup
Of dreariness the prosy cup,
And word goes round that Frank is up,
The benches soon are crowded.

I feel I earn a nation's thanks
If I, with due humility,
Suggest for such a wit as Frank's
A new and fit nobility.
If I'd my way, I'd have him sent
Our happier moods to represent
As 'Minister for Merriment
Without Responsibiiity.'

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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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