The Lyre-Tailed Menura

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

Far in the forest depths I dwell,
The master mimic of them all,
To pour from out my secret dell
Echo of many a bushland call,
That over all the forest spills;
Echo of many a birdland note,
When out about the timbered hills
Sounds all that borrowed lore that fills
My magic throat.

I am the artist. Songs to me
From all this gay green land are sped;
And when the wondrous canopy
  Of my great, fronded tail is spread-
A glorious veil, at even's hush-
Above my head, I do my part;
Then wren and robin, finch and thrush-
All are re-echoed in a rush
Of perfect art.

Here by my regal throne of state,
To serve me for a swift retreat,
The little runways radiate;
And when the tread of alien feet
Draws near I vanish: ever prone
To quick alarm when aught offends
That secret ritual of the throne.
My songs are for my mate alone,
And favoured friends.

I am the artist. None may find,
In all the world, a match for me:
Rare feathered loveliness combined
With such enchanting minstrelsy.
In a land vocal with gay song
I choose whate'er I may require;
I wait, I listen all day long,
Then to the music of a throng
I tune my lyre.

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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 Lyre-Tailed Menura" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 21 Sep. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/6717/the-lyre-tailed-menura>.

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