The Calm

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

Brothers, have you observed the calm?
Even the leaves of that symbolic palm
That denotes peace, political and otherwise, are scarcely stirred
By the faintest breath of controversy. Not a word
Is heard,
Excepting, here and there, the belated spouting
Of some overcharged politician giving his vocabulary an outing.
Brothers, what does this denote?
Is there no longer any competition for your precious vote?
Nay, have you ever heard that alleged political axiom over which the
  wily old campaigners oft make goodly sport:
'The memory of the sap-headed elector is short.'
Do you believe the allegation, brothers, or do you doubt it?
And, anyhow, what are you going to do about it?

Brothers, if ever you hope to know enough to come in out of the wet,
Mark this: They are giving you time to forget!
What of those great National Questions,
Those fine, broad, far-seeing and statesman-like suggestions,
Those urgent matters of life and death,
About which the politicians were so busy talking a while ago that they
  had hardly time to draw breath?
Are they dead?
Have they been fatally bashed on the head?
Have they been decently interred attended by those solemn obsequies
  usually afforded the remains of respectable and right-thinking
  persons who impressed us in this life with their top-hats?
Rats!
What of the settlement of the Northern Territory?
Is this an abandoned story?
What of our sea defence?
Has this question been cast hence
Into the outer darkness and the gloom
Of the tomb?
What of efficient Protection?
Is this now merely a matter for maundering retrospection.
Amongst senile and toothless old parties whose minds ever dwell amongst
  the dead and mouldy things of the past?
Oh, Blast, brothers! BLAST!
Blast those rocks of apathy that bind your sense of true citizenship!
Get a fresh grip.
Spring off your tall!
Give your political perspicaciousness a ball,
Revive it with a long, cool, refreshing drink,
And sit down and THINK....

Do you imagine for one moment that old 'Party Government' is asleep?
Do you picture it sunk in slumbers deep?
If you do, brothers, you never made a bigger mistake.
It is very, very wide awake.
That fine, old British institution, Party Government, that was
  introduced into this suffering country before the thistle and
  previous to the rabbit,
And nursed so assiduously by politicians till our acceptance of it has
  become a sinful habit -
This pestiferous System, my brothers, never sleeps;
Watch and ward it keeps.
And while you are mooning, sporting, smoodging, drinking, dreaming,
It is engineering, planning, plotting, scheming.
The Hon. Mr. Black is aiming at the political downfall of the Hon. Mr.
  White;
While the Hon. Mr. White is playing for the shoving of the Hon. Mr.
  Black and his friends into the darkness and gloom and solitude of
  political night.
But both, my brothers, both are toiling with the energy of a 200-h.p.
  triple cylinder motor,
With the object of eventually and effectively sprinkling a little salt
  upon the tail of that dull but desirable bird, the free and independent
  voter.
Brothers, do ye feel like taking tickets on yourselves? Do ye feel
  flattered and exalted?
For, behold, ye are to be numbered among the salted!
And, while these plots and plans are brewing,
What, my brothers, are ye doing?
Whilst the wily politician is chewing
The cud of sinful reflection, with his eye upon your votes,
Are uou acting otherwise than after the manner and fashion of unreflective
  goats?
While you, brother, are canoodling with a soft and fluffy person, in a
  Magyarblouse, upon the silvery beach,
Striving to convince her that you think she is a perfect peach;
And while you, brother, are vainly endeavoring at the races,
To watch the impossible nags you back run into places;
And while you, brother, are sinking the long 'un, and the gin-squash, and
  the soder-with-dash.
And recklessly doing in your cash;
Sly old Party Government and its minions
Are busy manufacturing your political opinions.
Yes, you, the intelligent electors, fine fellows of quite unusual
  brain and brawn,
Are each of you regarded merely as a puppet, a pawn
In the Game.
Shame!

Attention, and I shall tell you exactly what old Party Government is doing
  at this precise moment, if you wish.
He is busily engaged in the manufacture of fish.
Fish, brothers, herrings, red herrings which it is his intention to draw
  across the track
Of great National Issues, because he
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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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