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The Listening Week by C.J. Dennis

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This week, throughout the length and breadth of the Australian continent, wireless waves from both A and B class stations are broadcasting race descriptions and results, and myriads of ears are bent toward receiving sets.

This is the listening week of the year --
A-cock and alert is the national ear --
All over the land in the country towns,
From the back of the Leeuwin to Darling Downs,
Layers of "quids" or the odd half-crowns,
     They are listening-in.
On the far-flung farms they are round each set,
The work and the worry they all forget,
Wherever an aerial soars in space
To the Cup, or the Oaks or the Steeplechase,
To the roar of the ring and the lure of the race
   They are listening-in.
In the far outback there are sun-tanned men,
Where the woolshed stands by the drafting pen --
Old Dad's come in from the Ninety Mile;
He scored on the Cup and he wears a smile,
And he "reckons this game is well worth while" --
      So he's listening in.
To the edge of the desert the sound-waves go;
      And, listening-in,
Ned of the Overland, Saltbush Joe --
      Listening-in --
Recall the giants of years long past,
And the loneliness of these spaces vast;
But they reckon that life's worth living at last
      With this listening-in.

First published in The Herald, 8 November 1933

More for the Money by C.J. Dennis

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In spite of complaints of bad reception, it is improbable that the Postal Department will make further changes in wireless wave-lengths.

What are the wild waves saying now that their lengths are changed?
In a manner most dismaying are the stations now arranged.
   And I twist and twirl and twiddle at the knobs, then, with a screech
   Come sounds of a sobbing fiddle and a League of Nations speech,
Or the Abyssinian crisis with the football field's alarms,
Or the fat stock market prices mixed up with stuff by "Brahms."
   More for my money truly in these daft days I get.
   Since the waves become unruly and the solo's a duet:-
      From 3HA and 3DB, or 3LO and 7NT,
         From 3AR and 5CK.  Sounds mingle in the cutest way:
      "You are listening now . . . to a song by Bach . . .
      On the Jersey cow . . . 'Hahk, Hahk, the Lahk!'
         On the cult of the tomato . . .
      My cutie says . . .  Scratched for the Cup . . .
      Von Plonken plays . . .  Prime wethers up . . .
         With a 'cello obligato . . ."

What are the wild waves saying, now that their paths o'erlap?
And the trumpet's brazen braying breaks in on the solemn chap
   Who'd tell the listening nation how flames of war arise;
   But a strident Sydney station yells, "Smoke gets in your eyes."
And you'll note if you're observant that, spite of all you say,
Your boss, the Civil Servant, goes on his own sweet way;
   He deplores the sad disaster when your set so misbehaves;
   But the servant rules the master, and chaos rules the waves.
      From 3HA and 3DB, from 3LO and 7NT,
         From 3AR and 5CK.  Sounds mingle in the quaintest way.
      But in a while you cease to smile,
         For the thing's no longer funny.
      Listener, be wise.  Pray, realise
         You get more for your money.

First published in The Herald, 19 September 1935

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