The Fool and the Fire by C. J. Dennis

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A fool and a bag in a belt of scrub,
   Cloudless skies and the still hot days,
And the countryside's in a mad hubbub;
   Terror is here and the world's ablaze.
Five thousand sheep went West today,
   Bell's home at the crossing and Casey's pub;
And the cause of it all is a world away;
   A fool with a bag who passed the scrub.

An oaf with a match in a mile of grass,
   Where yesterday the skies shone clear;
But fury leapt where he came to pass;
   And now, ten miles away, comes fear.
Men toil and sweat in the reeking smoke
   That curling drifts to a sky of brass.
And now black ruin and homeless folk
   Are toll to an oaf in a mile of grass.

If the fool be caught can the fool repay?
   What is to do but build again,
And hope for the dawn of a better day,
   When folly is shorn from the ways of men;
What is to do but hope and pray.
   While the scars heal slow in a blackened land,
That the fool shall no more pass this way
   With the seeds of terror in his hand.

First published in The Herald, 8 January 1932;
and later in
Random Verse by C.J. Dennis, 1952.

Author reference sites: C.J. Dennis, Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on January 8, 2012 9:53 AM.

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