Our Town Awakes by C.J. Dennis

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Six o'clock.  From the railway yard
      The engine toots; careering hard,
   A milk-cart rattles by and stops;
   A magpie calls from the gum-tree tops;
The pub "boots", sweeping out the bar,
Waves to the early service-car,
   While the town's chief toper waits outside,
   Woe-begone and bleary-eyed;
Two cows go lowing down the way;
A rooster crows.  It's another day.

Eight o'clock.  The tradesmen come --
      Shop-boys whistling, masters glum,
   To stand at doors and stretch and yawn;
   Fronts are swept and blinds are drawn;
The washerwoman, Mrs Dubbs,
Slip-slops off to her taps and tubs,
   Washing clothes for other folk;
   The cheery barber cracks a joke,
But the day's first client fails to laugh --
Fresh from a tiff from his better half.

Nine o'clock.  Precise and neat,
      Miss Miggs comes mincing down the street,
   The town's dressmaker, pert and prim,
   Sly eyes, from under her hat's brim,
Gathering gossip by the way:
The same old goings-on today --
   That grocer off for his morning nip;
   The chemist, too, that married rip,
Flirting again with the girl next door.
Miss Miggs gleans twenty tales to store.

Ten o'clock.  The town grows brisk;
      Down the main street motors whisk;
   Jinkers, carts and farmers' drays
   Stop at shops and go their ways;
In solemn talk with the town surveyor
Comes Mr Mullinger, our mayor,
   Pausing at doors for a friendly chat;
   He bows, he smiles, he lifts his hat ...
Now a brisker rush and a sudden din:
"That's her!" And the city train comes in.

First published in The Herald, 13 April 1937;
and later in
The Queenslander, 29 April 1937; and
Random Verse edited by Margaret Herron, 1952.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on April 13, 2013 11:47 AM.

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