Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

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

Old Town Types No. 10 - Big Doc Littlejohn - Poem by Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

Big Doc. Littlejohn, and ugly man and tall,
He wasn't very graceful, no part of him was small;
Big, frame, big head, huge hands, and red;
But gentle as a woman's as he stooped above the bed,
His great voice muted and the jaw out-thrust
And something there behind his eyes that captured human trust -
Big John Littlejohn, who drove until he died,
In his abbot buggy to the farms outside.

The family physician and the family's true friend;
No household in that wide, new land but loved him to the end;
And the old, fat midwife revered him as a saint:
'Sent straight from God, me dear,' says she. 'A human man she ain't.
No human flesh could bear it, no heart withstand the test,
The slavin', drivin', day an' night with no full hour of rest.'
But Big John Littlejohn, with one of his tired smiles,
Climbed in his abbot buggy for another seven miles.

He'd never met a vitamin, he seldom sought a knife;
But he healed full many a body and he saved full many a life.
For ten years, for twenty years, for forty years he toiled
His aid unstinted and his heart unspoiled,
The friend of rich and poor alike, at everybody's call
For large fee, for small fee, or no fee at all,
In his old abbot buggy, with his wind-blown hair,
Rushing to another case behind his bay blood mare.

They found him on one winter dawn, low-huddled in the seat
Of the old abbot buggy, with the rug about his feet;
The great frame at rest at last, the mind rid of its load,
While the blood mare nibbled at the grass beside the road.
And the sad folk who found him there, before ought else, they say,
First knelt them in the roadside mud and bent their heads to pray
For great John Littlejohn, the grey man and kind,
The healer and the friend, who left not wealth nor foe behind.


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, August 28, 2012



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