Youth Revisited by C. J. Dennis

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Can this be the old town of wheat-teams and saddle-hacks,
   Of Ted Toll's smithy, with the anvil ringing clear,
Of stacks in the station yard, and stockmen, and farming hands,
   Of bow-legged bound'ry riders coming in for beer --
This strange, new, brisk town of sweet-shops and petrol pumps --
   Petrol pumps with motor cars dashing up and down?
Yet there stands the old church, the bluestone baker's shop,
   And the queer, shrunken houses of my old home town.

What has become of him -- Little Johnny Parkinson?
   Little Johnny Parkinson out upon a bust --
The long red beard of him, the red-rimmed eyes of him;
   Red from the harvest field and winnower dust.
Five foot two of him -- Little Johnny Parkinson,
   Driving in his wheat team, down the dusty street;
Red beard, red eyes, red bandana neckerchief -
   Little Johnny Parkinson, who took his whiskey neat.

What has become of him -- Big Jack Herringford?
   Big Jack Herringford, champion of the stacks,
Where the lumpers, laboring, climbed the crazy wooden ways --
   One, two, three hundred pounds upon their backs.
Big Jack Herringford, soft-hearted Hercules,
   Went to the West land and won a fortune there.
Was the gold a benison to Big Jack Herringford?
   Does anybody know, or does anybody care?

What has become of him -- Black Tom Boliver?
   Black Tom, Dude Tom, of the shearing shed -
The bold, black eyes of him, the well-oiled curls of him,
   The cabbage-tree hat well back upon his head.
What has become of them, all the men I used to know?
   Only one I recognise of all men there;
But one has a smile for me -- schoolmate Jimmy Tomlinson --
   Laughing Jimmy Tomlinson, with snow-white hair.

First published in The Herald, 15 January 1934

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on January 15, 2013 8:28 AM.

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