The Secret Thing by C.J. Dennis

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A Voice: Give us your policy.
Mr Cook: If I gave you my policy you wouldn't understand it.  (Laughter.)
- Report of Joe Cook's Bendigo Meeting.

What! Would you ask for the Liberal policy?
When did I ever such ignorant folly see?
         'Tis inconceivable!
         Hardly believable!
What could you now of that mystical thing?
Nay, 'tis enshrouded in sacred obscurity;
'Twill be revealed in some distant futurity;
         Wait a few years for it;
         Then you'll raise cheers for it,
And all the land with Hosannas shall ring.

Hist! Lest the populace glean the least word of it!
Tell them our policy! Who ever heard of it?
         People, be serious!
         Something mysterious
Lurks in the dark at the back of the scenes.
Nothing in modern nor yet ancient history --
Delphian oracle, Asian mystery --
         E'er was so mystical,
         Signs cabalistical
Have to be learned ere ye know what it means.

Hush! Let the ignorant never get breath of it;
One little word would encompass the death of it.
         Guard it religiously!
         It is prodigiously
Secret and sacred. Ah, cherish it well!
Let not the tiniest rumor auricular
Get to the crowd on the smallest particular.
         Argue persuasively,
         Answer evasively,
But our Great Secret we never must tell.

Chut! Have a care! E'en our minions be mutable!
Given them no hint of our secret inscrutable.
         Talk like an oracle;
         Words metaphorical
Pour in the ears of the credulous crowd.
Nay, keep it dark, if existence political
Ever you valued -- the moment is critical!
         Close as a cloister
         Be, dumb as an oyster.
The Caucus to baulk us would howl it aloud.

Ssh! Only Joe and a few hold the key to it;
Trust them implicitly; safely they'll see to it.
         Fondly they're holding it,
         Shaping and moulding it,
Oh, 'twill be marvellous when they are through!
They will reveal it when labor is perishing;
Till then our Holy of Holies they're cherishing.
         Cryptic and wonderful!
         Tut!  Let no blunderful
Liberal speak, or the day he will rue!

Hist! Not a word! Lest our chrysalis beautiful
Should be disturbed by a whisper undutiful.
         Hush! Not a syllable!
         For it is killable.
Once to reveal it were fatal for sure.
Though it is now in a state somewhat statical,
Wholly mysterious, quite enigmatical,
         In some futurity
         Out of obscurity,
Lo, 'twill emerge to us perfect and pure.

First published in The Bulletin, 22 May 1913

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on May 22, 2013 7:13 AM.

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