Mid-Winter Monody

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

There's a bleak, black world without,
And the rain falls fast;
And the wind, with a whine and a shout,
Blows buffeting past
To wail thro' the tortured trees,
With cold wet breath,
Like a choir of dank banshees
Foretelling death.

I sit by the fire and I now,
And I juggle with rhymes.
Oh, the ways of our world grow odd,
And the trend of our times.
My tired eyes roam the news,
These columns tell
Of earth and its warring views,
 And I sigh, 'Well, well!'

Idly I turn the page;
And I ponder then
Of the hopes and the dreams and the rage
And the folly of men.
What profits this modern show?
And where do we gain?
But - twenty short years ago,
Ah, then we were sane!

Speed-drunk and pleasure-crazed
We ravage and waste,
Dull, sentient things, half-dazed
By our own mad haste;
Selling content for gold,
Our peace for a fad.
Alas, for the wisdom of old!
We are mad! stark mad!

How, when, came earth's golden age
If ever it shone?
Wise years of the saint and the sage,
These are gone - long gone,
Never to blossom again
'Mid a peace well-won,
In a world of the simply sane.
We are doomed! We are done!

When a score more years drift on,
Then another shall dwell,
Here in my place, when I've gone.
And he'll sigh, 'Well, well!
What profits this modern show?
And where do we gain?
But - twenty short years ago,
Ah, then we were sane!'

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Submitted on May 13, 2011


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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"Mid-Winter Monody" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 6 Aug. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/6453/mid-winter-monody>.

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