Haw! by C. J. Dennis

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Liberals are not bothering about the fiscal question, if it can be called a question - or proclaiming a fiscal faith, for the very sufficient reason that the tariff is not at present in issue. - Melbourne ARGUS.

"Haw!  Good fellow I'm not doubting
   Your intentions are all right,
And your general appearance
   Is intelligent and bright;
But the question you're discussing
   Rather flicks me on the raw,
And it really doesn't matter;
   So we'll close the subject.  Haw!"

Since the every first reformer
   Made suggestions in the trees
All the old earth's agitators
   Meet with phrases such as these.
And it acts as brake and hobble
   On the progress of mankind,
This superior aloofness
   Of the static type of mind.

"Haw!"  It rings throughout the ages
   Since dim neolithic years,
Striving to discount the credit
   Of philosophers and seers;
And the richest, fattest mollusc
   Spat it out in savage hate
When he marked his fellow's yearning
   Towards a structure vertebrate.

"My good chap, enthusiasm's
   Right enough just now and then;
But your pose is idiotic
   In the sight of sober men.
Calm yourself, my worthy fellow,
   Stay that wildly wagging jaw.
The-ah mattah you're debating
   Isn't on the tapis.  Haw!"

Spoken in a haughty fashion,
   With an apathetic glance,
Then that simple interjection
   Clothes a mass of ignorance.
"Haw!  The fellow is a boundah!
   Do not heed his fuss and fret,
And the subject he alludes to
   Isn't mentioned in our set."

Friend, if you have privileges
   Fairly come by -- more or less --
And the claims of poorer brothers
   Cause you most acute distress --
When all argument has failed you
   'Gainst their Socialistic law
Cultivate the distant manner
   And the haughty Tory "Haw!"

Cultivate the cool aloofness
   When they seek with howlings rude
To assault your proud position.
   Cultivate the platitude:
And, when they bring forth suggestions
   Of a democratic type;
Tell then, friend, it is "un-British,"
   And, "the time is not yet ripe."

When with calm, unswerving reason,
   And with logic merciless,
They convince your better nature
   That abuses need redress,
Do not weakly yield to measures
   That your prejudices hate.
But remark, "It's not at issue,"
   And that closes the debate.

Still, my friend, despite your coldness,
   'Spite reactionary, "Haws."
These reformers somehow get there
   When they have a worthy cause,
And the fat and foolish mollusc
   Who the vertebrates ignored,
Did not block all evolution,
   So the scientists record.

As the world goes bravely onward
   Leaving molluscs far behind,
Progress ever has to reckon
   With the static type of mind.
And the fighters in the vanguard
   Recognise this simple law,
"Social evolution mainly
   Is the overthrow of 'Haw!'"

First published in The Bulletin, 6 March 1913

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 6, 2013 6:26 AM.

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