Wangaratta

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

At the meeting of the waters
Where the dark tree shadows play
Wangaratta's sons and daughters
Dream the drowsy hours away;
Placid see the season's greeting
Winter storm and summer sun
Wed, to flow henceforth as one.
Where two northbound rivers meeting,

Long since prone to sudden dangers
When, to dim her dawning pride,
Morgan and his wild bushrangers
Thronged her pleasant countryside,
Now in her quiet graveyard resting
Lies old shame and that rash lad,
Where a mate, on tin attesting,
Pleads that 'he was not all bad.'

Crime and she are almost strangers
Now, since those ill doers died.
Bishops reign where once bushrangers
Slew her peace and shamed her pride.
And content within her waxes
In this pious atmosphere
Where naught now save threat-worn taxes
Wakens echoes of past fear.

At the meeting of the waters
Where tree shadows shift and sway,
Nothing lingers here that slaughters
Her bucolic calm away.
Done at last with Youth's adventure
Quiet lady slow to move,
And wealthier grown she lives down censure
As she drifts in one straight groove.

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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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