The Barter Boom

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

Now, since man became a martyr
To this economic stress,
He has sought relief, in barter,
From financial wretchedness;
So, dispensing with the banker,
If you've aught to trade at all,
Any thing for which you hanker,
From a needle to an anchor,
From a slipway to a spanker,
Is at call.

So, now, what have you to proffer?
Make an offer! Make an offer!
Here's a punting gent prepared to make a deal;
He'll exchange a betting system
(All the winners, never missed 'em),
For a pair of boots - size seven - and a meal.
Here's a trusted politician,
Giving up his great position.
(Voters vacillate so shamefully alas!)
And he'll take a steady billet
Confident that he can fill it
For a pile of Hansards and one nice gold pass.

Here's a motorist who lately,
Slightly sozzled, bent on fun,
Somewhat prone, unfortunately,
To the game of hit and run,
Just involved in a disaster,
Swop one bent car, arted high,
Simplest in the world to master
(Eighty m.p.h., or faster),
For a roll of sticking plaster
And a good, safe alibi.

Now then, what have you to proffer?
Make an offer - any offer!
A poet (licensed) offers here a chance:
Ten Centenary effusions,
Odes, one set of young illusions
For a top-coat and a pair of unpatched pants.
Here's a City Council willing
To accept some concrete filling,
Headache powders, and a quantity of bricks,
For some fancy flags (all nations)
Sundry faded decorations
And a great, big blithering pile of lollysticks.

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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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"The Barter Boom" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 10 Aug. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/6571/the-barter-boom>.

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