Recently in Crime Category

In the Fullness of Time by C.J. Dennis

| No TrackBacks
In the city and suburbs there have been 71 cases of housebreaking in seven days and 26 hold-ups since September 4. Meantime the Government is still perfecting its "Consorting with Criminals" Bill, aimed at the suppression of crime.

If a footpad comes upon you in a quiet street at dark,
   And prods a large revolver in your back,
Oh, don't decide, in sudden gloom, that life's a nark,
Or toy with pessimistic thought and black;
But stick your hands high in the air as, with felonious act,
   He strips you of your cash; keep very still,
And ponder on the beautiful and more consoling fact,
   That the Government's considering a Bill.

If you reach your home on evening to discover cupboards bare,
   And every secret place turned inside out,
And all the rooms denuded of their treasures rich and rare,
   Don't hit the roof, and throw your weight about,
And babble of a crime-wave.  Keep your temper; try to smile,
   And lay this soothing unction to your soul:
The nation's mighty intellects are building plans the while,
   That, in time's gracious fullness will be whole.

For some shall be the sacrifice as some shall grab the loot;
   But evil in the end shall not prevail.
So when a hoodlum jumps on you and then "puts in the boot,"
   Think (while you may) this sort of thing must fail.
We must be philosophic.  Panic serves no thoughtful folk.
   What's property compared with perfect laws?
So, if you stop a bullet, try to ponder as you croak,
   You've been martyred in a good and noble cause.

First published in The Herald, 10 November 1931

The Fowl by C.J. Dennis

| No TrackBacks
A small orchardist near Melbourne was charged, the other day, with "removing" chickens off a neighbour's hen ranch.  Defendant pleaded that his neighbour did not know how to rear chickens, that he was not fit to keep poultry, and he(defendant) had taken the birds because they were not being properly treated.  At this, there was much laughter in court.The orchardist was fined, and ordered to restore the chickens.

A noble lesson this should teach,
   Dear children unto you.
If other people's goods you reach,
Of rectitude 'twill be a breach,
Or parsons will your virtues preach,
   According to the point of view,
   Or to the kind of folks you "do".

You steal a chicken off a fence
   With wrath the pious shake,
Although you say with eloquence
The owner used it ill, and hence
You kindly sought to recompense
   The bird for troubles past, and make
   It happier, for Heaven's sake.

But if you are a statesman grand,
   And ships and armies raise,
To steel some feeble niggers' land,
To make its folks a Christian band,
To take their moral weal in hand - 
   The Empire echoes with your praise,
   And churches bless you all your days.

First published in The Bulletin, 21 June 1906

Arch Criminal by C.J. Dennis

| No TrackBacks
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

To the Alarmist by C.J. Dennis

| No TrackBacks
Despite the number of robberies, burglaries, murder trials, abductions, assaults and other crimes recently, the authorities insist that there are no indications of a "crime wave."

When the burglars go a-burgling every evening in the week,
   And the daylight robber plies a busy trade,
When the prowler goes a-prowling, his unhappy prey to seek,
   And nightfall finds all citizens afraid:
Do not loosely talk of "crime waves," tho' brute violence be rife;
   These are merely indications of a normal social life.

It is well to speak discreetly; choose your words at such a time.
   You may call the thing a hurricane, an avalanche of crime;
But when crackmen crack the record and the crooks will not behanve
   It makes the "heads" quite angry if you call the thing a "wave."

When you seize your daily paper, and discover ev'ry morn
   That another shop or household has been cracked,
   'Tis absurd to grow indignant and to raise a howl forlorn,
   And marvel why authorities don't act.
They are acting. You will notice that quite nearly every day
   They detect unlicensed motors, or the walker known as "jay."

But to talk about a "crime wave" is quite palpably absurd,
   And it hurts official feelings when that foolish phrase is heard.
   When to trifling depradations such outlandish names you give,
   Pray remember, crooks are human and a burglar has to live.

When the Minister says firmly that "such things should never be,"
   When he says he's "shocked," why, surely that's enough
To indicate quite clearly that he has no sympathy
   With criminals who make the game too rough.
And, if these solemn warnings to malefactors fail,
   Well, I, for one, won't be surprised if he should mention jail.

But to talk about a "crime wave!" Oh, my friend! do have some sense!
Have you thought how such wild talk may harm the business of a "fence?"
You are surely courting trouble when such vain remarks are made.
Serve you right if he should sue you for unjust restraint of trade.

First published in The Herald, 4 June 1923

The Wonders of the One Pound Note by C.J. Dennis

| No TrackBacks
An artist, convicted in Melbourne City Court yesterday, said in defence that out of love for the beautifully artistic design of the £1 note came the desire to make a replica. He had no intention, he said, of cashing it. Possibly he intended to frame it.

You .... with but a sixpence in your pocket, and you with half a "quid," and you with a solid bank balance, and sundry others;
Let not the cares of money e'er oppress you.
Today I would address you
Upon the wonders of the one pound note
And in the words that someone one day wrote
Across its face,
I trust my words will not be out of place.

Have you e'er given our pound note a glance --
When you have had a chance?
Artistic, ain't it?
I wonder what aesthete they got to paint it?
Doesn't its face attract you, and its smile
Lure you to love and fondle it a while --
The brief while that 'tis with you?  Don't you feel
It has a certain -- shall we say -- appeal?
And, have you ever
Marvelled at all that intricate and clever --
That wonderful arrangement of the "ones"
That pop up in the most unexpected places?
There are so many there
That, just to count them, makes you feel almost a millionaire.
And have you ever noticed how its face is
Adorned with divers writings in quaint style?
Brothers; those writing often make me smile.
Is it indeed a sin to copy such?
It doesn't matter much.
But, as a writer, I'm interested in the subject, and up to the time those few lines were indicted
I've never heard that note was copyrighted.
But, still, why need we quarrel
About that matter?  But what I have been trying to say all this time is that I consider that the pound note, beloved though it be by all classes of the community, is, in some senses, highly immoral
For why?
It tells a lie.
What does it say?
"I (the Commonwealth treasurer) promise to pay
"One pound in gold" --
(Oh brothers!  How can such vain things be told?)
"Upon demand" (he prints DEMAND in "caps.")
But will he pay? . .  Perhaps!
Why, brothers?  Why?
Go up and try,
Go up into the lordly treasuree
And ask to see
The Treasurer, and there and then unfold
The tale of your dire need for gold.
The man won't dare to look you in the face.
Demand (as he invites you to), insist, reason, argue, shout, yell your demand at him, and he'll probably have you kicked out of the place.
Now, brothers, is that fair?
I know there was a catch in there somewhere.
So next time that you Bills and Bens, and Hals and Toms amd Dicks and Timothys and Thomases
Kid yourselves that you are well off, consider, it is not wealth, splosh, spondulicks, brass, beans, dough that you possess; but merely a pocketful of worthless promises.
The man won't recognise that note: he hates it;
Yet gaols the flatterer who imitates it.

First published in The Herald, 25 May 1922

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Crime category.

Creative Process is the previous category.

Culture is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en