One Happy Man by C. J. Dennis

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Today I met a happy man
   Greeting the glad new year.
About his face the sunbeams ran
And danced, as straightaway he began
   To laugh with right good cheer.
His garb was mean, tho' neat and clean;
   No scarf, no hat had he.
He seemed indeed to be in need
  And touched by poverty.

"Good friend," said I, "why do you laugh
   And chortle in the sun,
When we've a bitter cut to quaff.
With profits down to less than half
   And gloom for every one?
Know you that these are troublous days,
   And life a stern affair,
And all must tread uncertain ways,
   Haunted by grim despair?"

The merry rogue looked up at me,
   And grinned from ear to ear.
"Why should I not be glad?" said he,
"And strive to greet right merrily
   The birth of this glad year?"
"Because," said I - and frowned again -
   "Of losses grave and great
That you and I and other men
   Have had to bear of late.

"Think well," I said; "the times are grave,
   And we may lose yet more.
We must give thought on how to save . . . "
He lifted up his head and gave
   A long, loud, merry roar.
"I'd like," said he, when he had pause,
   "To share your gloomy views.
But I don't care a whit, because
   I've not a thing to lose!"

First published in The Herald, 1 January 1931

Author reference sites: C.J. DennisAustlitAustralian Dictionary of BiographyAustralian Poetry Library

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on January 1, 2013 10:32 AM.

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