The Madman by C.J. Dennis

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"I should go mad," he said, "in such a place!
   The lack of company, the loneliness!
Nothing but trees to stare you in the face;
Nothing to do; no life; no pep; no pace!
   I'd die of melancholy." I said "Yes?"
"Why, yes," said he.  "The suburbs can be bad.
But this?  Why, heavens, man!  I should go mad."
"What do you do?" he said.  "How find a way
   To pass the time?  Of course, the country's great
For rest and that" (I wished he'd go away;
I had a hundred things to do that day).
   "Oh, well," I said, "I think; I meditate
And -- " "Think?  A man can't always think  --
Not all the time.  Good lord!  I'd take to drink!
"I'd go stone mad," he said.  "I know the trees
   And birds and sky, and all that sort of stuff
Please for a while.  But man can't live on these.
I've got my love of nature's harmonies;
   But, spare me days, man, nature's not enough.
You work, you say.  But then, when work is done,
What in the thunder do you do for fun?
"Ah, well," he said.  "It's peaceful, that I'll say.
   Er -- what's the time?  Good heavens, I must go!
I've got a crowd of men to see to-day;
I'll miss the train!  I must be on my way.
   Can't spare another half a minute.  So,
Good-bye.  I wonder you're not dilly, lad."
"Ah, that's just it," I told him.  "I am mad."

First published in The Herald, 14 March 1933;
and later in
More Than a Sentimental Bloke edited by John Derum, 1990.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 14, 2013 7:24 AM.

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