Wanderers Lost

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

Oh, we are the phantoms of rovers lost
See how the mocking mirages play!
Men who have ventured and paid the cost.
Lone, waiting women, 'tis vain to pray!
We dies unshriven, as rovers die,
And no man knows where our white bones lie.
Black birds gather when rovers stray,
Out where the mocking mirages play.

A maiden has waited a long year thro'.
Mark where a crow from the northward flies!
'Ah, can he be false that had sworn so true?'
They say that a wanderer woos with lies.
A maiden has waited and counted the days,
Since a lover went roving the northward ways.
What do they profit - unheeded sighs?
Mark where a crow from the northward flies!

Out in the desert a still thing lies.
Westward the sun is sinking low.
Who is to mourn when a rover dies?
Hark! 'Tis the caw of a sated crow.
Who is to tell of a mad'ning thrist
Of a lonely death in a land accurst?
Merciful God! Is she ne'er to know?
(Hark to the caw of a sated crow.)

Oh, we are the legion that never came back
Ever have rovers to count the cost.
Men who went out on the waterless track.
Curst is the plain that was ne'er recross'd!
Restless to roam o'er the desert our doom,
Till our end shall be known and our bones find a tomb.
Mourn for the souls of wanderers lost,
Ever have rovers to count the cost.

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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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