Arch Criminal by C.J. Dennis

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A forthright and outspoken Sydney clergyman recently took to task certain Church leaders who thunder against the alleged sins of flappers (such as the use of lip-stick, face-powder and cigarettes) while they utterly neglect to attack man's avarice, selfishness, injustice and jealousy.

When muddled mentors take the stage
   To gird against our erring,
They simulate an awful rage,
They funk the task and straight engage
   A palpable red-herring.
Fearing at higher marks to aim,
   The futile knuckle-rapper,
With flaming words of bitter blame,
Plays at the rather outworn game
   Of "Flagellate the Flapper."
Altho', my sweet, you may be neat
And winsome, too, from head to feet,
In face and form a nymph complete,
   In manner softly winning;
One touch of powder Number Two,
And heaven's gates are closed to you;
Tho' still ajar for those who do
   This sad world's heavy sinning.
The man whose greed outstrips his need
   (While lesser folk deplore it)
Is due for stern rebukes indeed.
Yet, gently, brother; Why give heed
   To this?  Be wise; ignore it.
For, lo, this fellow may be rich --
   Of social rank delectable.
For better curb the urgent itch
To censure, lest you hurt him; which
   Would hardly be respectable.
So, precious pet, they'd fain forget
Sins of the mighty, while they fret
O'er lip-stick, rouge and cigarette,
   And graver sinning palliate.
As Public Enemy you rank
Now No. 1 for those who shrank
Ever from bigger game, and thank
   Their stars you can't retaliate.

First published in The Herald, 12 June 1935

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on June 12, 2013 7:24 AM.

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