Ignoramus by C.J. Dennis

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What crass, abysmal ignorance!  Forlorn!
   Despite his looks, the man must be half-witted!
They gasped for air; they gazed on him in scorn,
   And tried to think of epithets that fitted.
Clown!  Dolt!  Unlettered oaf!  And yet, some spark
   Of clear intelligence seemed in his bearing.
Men called him clever!  But his one remark --
   His only one -- had left them gaping, staring!
Long had they argued: first this one, then that,
   Sedately, quietly, gravely polemic.
No voice was raised; each had the subject pat --
   A weighty matter, almost academic.
But he had said no word; but sat and read
   A book by Einstein, while the rest disputed,
A hand supporting his fine, massive head;
   And seemed to be all that he was reputed.
And still they talked and talked; till some one stopped,
   Searching for words, and so the thread was broken.
Then he looked up; and then the bomb was dropped
   As, joining the discussion, he had spoken.
His long white finger marking still his place
   Upon the page he read, the question rolling
Prim and precise, he said, with smiling face:
   "Excuse me, but -- er -- what IS body bowling?"

First published in The Herald, 16 February 1933

Note: "body bowling" is another term for "bodyline".

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on February 16, 2013 8:02 AM.

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