The Impervious Iceberg

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

I saw him stand, a Polar man,
Cold anger in his frigid eye,
Facing it wild, unruly clan
Who poised their fiery shafts on high.

Strangely, his very coldness fed
  The angry flame 'gainst such as he;
For in his wintry face they read
Antarctic immobility.

The niveous hauteur of that face
Bespoke the brumal inner man;
And, in its chill hyemal grace,
His pose was quite Siberian.

His haughty and hibernal gaze
Seemed like twin icicles to strike.
The whole man was, in many ways,
Peculiarly cucumber-like.

His algid and unruffled brow
Gleamed frostily, and, as he eyed
His raging foes, he seemed, I vow,
Gelidity personified.

His Greenland bosom bulged with pride:
A manly bosom 'twas withal
And, as he breathed, with glacial glide
I watched his waistcoat rise and fall.

I marked the Arctic arrogance
With which he faced his foemen bold.
Bleak was his mien; clay-cold his glance.
Some vowed his very feet were cold.

I saw his savage foemen poise
Their fiery javelins on high.
(They made a fearful lot of noise.)
'Slay! Slay the Iceberg!' was the cry.

And then, as by a single hand
Propelled, I saw the keen shafts fly,
And on that manly bosom land.
'This is his funeral,' thought I.

Nay, by my halidaine! What's this?
Upon his breast the hot shafts beat,
But with a fierce and baffled hiss
dropp all innocuous at his feet.

Unscathed he stood, the Man of Ice.
Each shaft, with torrid anger fired,
Just spluttered feebly once or twice,
Then ignominiously expired.

One look he gave them, that was all
It made his shiv'ring foemen feel
That wintry blasts swept through the hall
Then turned on his hyemal heel.

One word he spake, one icy word
No man among them stood exempt
It froze each listener who hear
With hyperborean contempt.

It froze them with its brumal blast;
Like avalanches there it rang.
Then through the door he calmly passed,
And banged it with a snow-clad bang.

So, frigidly, he won the day.
And, when the blizzard blast was o'er,
Lo, nought remained to mark the fray
But shafts, deceased, upon the floor.

And, as I passed into the night,
I heard one baffled foe aver:
''Tis sheer futility to fight
An iceberg with a Lucifer!'

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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 Impervious Iceberg" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 9 Aug. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/6679/the-impervious-iceberg>.

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