The Insect

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

From Camoweal to Windywoe, from Windywoe to Thirstyville,
We'll drag the line around the map, along the plain, and up the hill;
Scross the desert, to the swamp, across the swamp and up the rise.
'Our ' Sacred Rights must be preserved, 'our' claims you'll have to recognise.

One night, while others were abed,
With weary eyes and aching head,
I pored for hours and hours upon a map,
Till dots and lines began to swim.
'Suggested routes' grew blurred and dim,
And then, I think, I must have had a nap.

But, with a start,it seemed to me,
I sat boolt upright suddenly,
And gazed, with staring eyes, before me straight;
For there, upon my inkwell's brim,
With aspect most grotesque and grim,
Methought a large, fat, hairy spider sate.

'Good fellow, you behold in me
An insect of repute,' said he.
'I'm that State Insect, so much talked about.
I've frequently been mentioned in
Such papers as THE BULLETIN;
So you have beard of me before, no doubt.

'You've recently,' pursued the brute,
'Been pondering upon the route
Of our Transcontinental Railway Line.
I do not know what views you hold;
But, if it be not deemed too bold,
I'll just acquaint you with a few of mine.'

Then, suddenly, the creature dropped
Heels over head, and downward flopped
Into the pot, and floundered in the ink.
I calmly thought, 'He'll drown, no doubt';
But presently he struggled out
And sat, once more, all dripping, on the brink.

'Ere I proceed to illustrate
The views of each protesting State
Thus did the beast address me from the pot
'Please understand I represent
All phases of State discontent;
In me is concentrated all the lot!'

Then quickly from the pot he crawled,
And, ere I could prevent it, sprawled
Upon the map. I cursed at him in vain.
And as he went, and left behind
Long, inky smears, all crossed and lined,
He chanted this preposterous refrain:

'From Drouthyhurst to Dottytown, from Dottytown to Thirstyville.
We'll drag the line around the map, and o'er the plain, and up the hill;
With here a twist, and there a turn and over here a wide detour.
Our claims you have to recognise; our prejudices must endure.
From Boodle's run to Foodle's pub our Sacred Rights you must preserve
From Foodle's pub to Doodle's dam, the int'rests of the State to serve;
Insanely crawling through the map, and in and out, and to and fro,
If you'd propitiate the States, this is the way the line will go.'

I seized a pen, in angry haste,
And, with a curse, the creature chased
From off the map, then looked, and cursed some more.
But 'round the corner of the pot
The spider peered and said, 'What rot!
I don't see what you've got to curse me for!

'I will explain, if you'll permit,'
It said ; but in an angry fit
I banged the map and yelled; 'Upon my word!
You've crossed and lined it back and forth,
But one straight line from south to north
Does not appear! Your system is absurd!

'Suppose,' I said, 'invaders came;
Here, in the north. How, in the name
Of thunder, could we quickly move our troops?
How could we rush our army forth
Into the unprotected North
With all your crazy twists and turns and loops!'

'Good fellow, I have yet to learn
That it is any State's concern
To meddle with Defence,' he made reply.
'That is the Commonwealth's lookout;
They'll get 'em there. I have no doubt;
But, as for us, we've other fish to fry.
'Yet if you really want to know
Which way the troops will have to go,
Once more I shall be happy to explain.'
And, as I planned his sudden death,
The creature drew a long, deep breath
And sang again this maddening refrain:

'From Drouthyhurst to Dottytown, from Dottytown to Thirstyville.
We'll drag the army 'round the map, and o'er the plain, and up the hill;
With over here a wide detour, and here a twist, and there a turn;
And if they never meet the foe it isn't any state's concern.
We'll drag 'em miles and weary miles, from Foodle's pub to Boodle's run;
The while the foeman gains the North, without the firing of a gun.
From Boodle's run to Doodle's dam, o'er kink and curl and loop and curve.
Our int'rests you must recognise, our Sacred Rights you must observe.'
Again, all haste I made to grab
A pen; this time resolved to stab
The loathly insect in some vital spot;
But, though with murd'rous aim I hit,
'Twas wasting energy, for it
Eluded me and dodged around the pot.

'Aha! You're not the first of men
To try to slay me with a pen,'
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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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"The Insect" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 11 Aug. 2020. <>.

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