Bill by C.J. Dennis

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"Gentle brother, answer truly,
   Tell what you be.
But, I pray, tax not unduly
   Your sagacitee.
Is your brand u-ni-fi-cation --
Is't, or is your appellation
Something mild and shorter still?
Answer truly, Brother Bill."

Gentle brother answered truly,
   Though in language hot --
For his temper was unruly:
   "Don't talk blinded rot!
Blow u-ni-fi-blanky-cation!
If you want me name an' station
My true moniker is Bill,
An' I work at Johnson's mill."

"Gentle brother, wax not ireful.
   I'm not out for jokes.
Yea, and consequences direful
   Smite bad-tempered blokes.
I've no doubt, all day perspiring,
You graft hard.  I'm not inquiring
Who you are or what you do,
But what are you?  Answer true." 

Brother Bill stood wildly staring,
   Anger in his eye;
And, belligerently glaring,
   Thus he made reply:
"Up at Johnson's mill I'm working,
And I ain't a bloke for shirking.
If you want me answer true,
I'm a better man that you!"

"Gentle brother, of your senses
   You seem quite bereft.
Just consider how immense is...."
   Here's Bill's dirty left
Took the catechist right squarely,
And Bill forthwith bounced him fairly,
Punched till he was out of breath.
Bill despised a shibboleth.

Note ye how each platform spouter,
   Playing at "the game,"
Strives to label ev'ry doubter
   With a foolish name.
With sly tricks and ruses clever
They are keenly seeking ever
To affix a party brand
To all voters in the land.

List, ye party politicians,
   Talking near and far,
We don't want vague propositions
   As to what you are.
For the shibboleths of party
Rightly earn the curses hearty
Of all honest men and true.
Let us hear of what you DO.

First published in The Bulletin, 29 May 1915

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on May 29, 2013 7:27 AM.

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