Recently in Diseases and Infections Category

Convalescent by Mabel Forrest

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While I was ill how green have grown the poinsetta leaves,
And a wee bird has built a nest among the vine clasped eaves.
The red geraniums flank the walks, the pine tress climb the hill,
And all the world has been renewed -- since I was ill!

How vivid are the summer skies, how white the long low fence,
How distant grows the beckoning hand that almost drew me hence;
The scent of roses is so sweet -- it seems the world to fill:
I never knew how I loved life -- till I was ill!

In the far paddocks over there the wattle is in flower;
Perhaps I shall walk there some day, and dream away an hour,
To leave the four grey walls behind and climb the grassy hill;
How precious grows the outside world -- since I was ill!

How nice it is to see a face I used to think grown cold
Smile on me, gladden me once more as in morns of old.
I did not know I held a place no other could fill:
I did not know they wanted me -- till I fell ill!

First published in Steele Rudd's Magazine, 7 May 1904 

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Germ Chaser by C.J. Dennis

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Just at present, when there is a great deal of talk about germs and injection, doctors agree that while reasonable car and precautions are commendable, any tendency to hysterical fear and panic is least to be desired.

I knew a careful lady once
Who read a book by Dr. Bunce,
A wise authority on wogs
That roam about in dust and fogs;
Indeed, he pointed out, all air,
However pure, held germs somewhere;
They clung to door-knobs, crawled on floors,
Inhabited small change in scores.
In fact, there scarcely was a thing
To which some foul germ did not cling,
Ready to leap and work its will
To some poor luckless human's ill.

The lady closed the book and sighed,
And all content within her died.
This pleasant earth for her became
The haunt of wogs, and life a game
Of hide and seek.  She joined the band
Of grim germ-chasers in the land.
She scoured and scrubbed, examined food --
Which, thus far, was all to the good --
But when she strove to disinfect
Her home, 'twas worse than mild neglect;
No hospital smelled half so bad,
And then, I fear, she went quite mad.

Her eye took on a maniac glare;
She saw germs lurking everywhere.
She hung up mottoes such as this:
"Ten thousand germs in every kiss."
She would not handle coins or take
Another's hand for friendship's sake;
Scarce dared to eat or draw a breath
For fear she might imbibe her death.
She sprayed her husband, heels to head,
With crude carbolic till he fled;
But, since she had means of her own,
She much preferred to live alone.

When going into town one day,
Wrapped up and muzzled in a way
Quite microbe-proof, from foot to crown,
A passing motor knocked her down.
And where she's sleeping soundly now
The germs have got her, anyhow ...
The point of this sad tale is here:
Better be dead than live in fear;
Better live like a Stone Age man
Before germ-consciousness began;
Better take chances, seems to me,
Than try to dodge what you can't see.

First published in The Herald, 8 September 1937;
and later in
Random Verse edited by Margaret Herron, 1952.

The Busted Bard by C.J. Dennis

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A Tragedy in Six Spasms

A bard one Spring did blithely sing
   Sing hey for a lilting lay, sing hey!
"I'll write a rhyme with a right good ring."
   Sing ho for a journey in the inky way!
With dictionaries bound in tan,
With pen and paper he began.
And oh, he was so spick and span.
Sing ho down derry for a literary man!
   For a lilting lay sing hey!

"Dear me," quoth he, "now let me see;"
   Sing hey for a lilting lay, sing hey!
"My masterpiece this thing must be."
   Sing ho for a treader in the inky way!
"A theme that's somewhat fresh to find
I'll exercise my mighty mind.
Now come, ye muses, pray be kind.
Sing hey down derry for the literary grind!
   For a lilting lay sing hey!"

"Ah, ha!  Hurrah!  Also Huzzah!
   Sing hey for a lilting lay, sing hey!
Eureka!  Likewise Ha, ha, ha!
   Sing ho for a header in the inky way!
I have it!  Just the very thing!
'Tis inspiration!  Now to sing
About the new-born babe of Spring.
Sing ho, with a literary ting-a-ling-a-ling!
   For a lilting lay sing hey!"

E'er this was read, I should have said
   Sing hey for a lilting lay sing hey!
The bard had influ. in his head.
   Sing ho for a treader in the inky way!
He sought to find a rhyme for babe.
Cried he:  "Id is ad awful shabe!
Alas!  Alack!  Cad this be fabe?
Sig ho, dowd derry for the literary gabe,
   For a lildig lay sig hey!"

In haste he took each rhyming book,
   Sing hey for a lilting lay, sing hey!
And found 'twas waste of time to look.
   Sing ho for a plodder in the inky way!
But still he sought, and sought and sought.
Alack, he thought there surely ought
To be a rhyme -- but found he naught.
Sing hey down derry; he was literally caught.
   For a lilting lay sing hey!

So, by his lot be warned: I wot
   Sing hey for a lilting lay, sing hey!
'Tis vain to search for what is not.
   Sing ho for wallow in the inky way.
Alas, there is no rhyme for babe.
Said he: "I thought to make a nabe
Ad dow I cah'd; but all the sabe --
Sig, hey dowd derry for the literary gabe.
   For a lilting lay, sig hey."

First published in The Critic, 28 June 1905

K'Shoo by C.J. Dennis

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A Seasodable Rhybe

When your dose is code as barble,
   Ad you sduffle all the day,
Ad your head id is behavig
   Id a bost unbleased way;
When your ev'ry joid is achig
   With a very paidful cramb,
When your throat is dry ad tiglish,
   Ad your feed are code and damb;
Whed your eyes are red ad rudding
   With the dears that will cub oud;
You cad safely bake your bind ub
   There is very liddle doubd.

You've got a code -- a code --
   Ad idfluedzal code;
You cahd tell how you coughd id,
   But id's a got a good firb hode.
Your face is whide, your eyes are pigk,
   Your doe is red ad blue;
Ad you wish that you were -
   Ah --
      Ah --
         Ah -- h --
               Kish -- SHOO-O-O!!

I dode wad to be a boed,
  Ad I do nod log for fabe,
But I have to wride to get by bread
   Ad budder, all the sabe.
id is very aggravadig,
   Ad this world is very hard
Whed the idfluenza fasteds
   Od a sendibendal bard.
Oh, I caddod sig of subber skies!
   I caddod twag by lyre!
For all the buses id the world
   Are powerless to idspire.

I've got a code -- a code --
   A bost udpleased code;
I caddod sig a sog ob sprig,
   I caddod bake ad ode.
For inspirashud will nod cub:
   I'b feelig very blue;
Oh, would thad I was -- 
   Ah --
      Ah --
         Ah -- h --
               Kish -- SHOO-O-O!!

I have to wride adother verse,
   Ad dode doe whad to say;
But I've got to buy some bedicid
   To drive this code away;
Oh, the boed's is a hard, hard life,
   His lod is very sore;
Ad if mbsfortude cubs to hib,
   He has to toil the bore.
And dow, I thig I've bade enough,
   By wridig this last verse,
To go ad buy byself sub stuff
   Before by code gets worse.

I've got a code -- a code --
   Ad agravatig code!
If I was well I'd wride you such
   A charbig liddle ode.
I'd sig of labkins od the sward,
   Bedeath the skies so blue,
If it wasn'd for the --
   Ah --
      Ah --
         Ah -- h --
               Kish -- SHOO-O-O!!

First published in The Gadfly, 19 June 1907;
and later in
Backblock Ballads and Later Verses by C.J. Dennis, 1918.

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