Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

(7 September 1876 - 22 June 1938 / Auburn, South Australia)

Country Pubs - Poem by Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

We know those little country pubs,
By cross-road and by creek,
Where faithfully the landlord scrubs
His counter once a week,
And stands before his shining bar
To cater for man's thirst
With all the best; but where the meals are
He caters with the worst.

'Wottle you 'ave?' There's beer or brandy,
Rum or half-and-half or shandy.
Wine or whisky. Bottles wink
'Wottle you 'ave, boys? Name your drink' ...
But in the grimy dining room
A slattern lass of grease and gloom
Intones in accents charged with grief:
'Wottle you 'ave? There's corn-beef.'

In the bar the talk grows gay,
The landlord beams, for trade agog,
And yokels wile dull hours away
Idly yarning o'er their grog ...
But in that cave of gastric woes
Grimly the hungry traveller eats,
To end by turning up his nose
And hoping to fill up on sweets.

'Wottle you 'ave?' - The cups are cloudy.
Linen soiled. The waitress dowdy,
Comes like an avenging fate
Snatching at the greasy plate
Soggy cabbage; soapy 'spuds'
Droning flies and smell of suds.
Now she whines, like some lost soul:
'Wottle you 'ave? There's jam-roll.'

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, August 30, 2012

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