Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis
Old Town Types No. 18 - Poem by Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis
Johnny Nock, the auctioneer, golden-bearded, ever gay,
Spread about him great good cheer in his prosperous heyday;
Familiar sight on district roads - his buckboard and his pacing roans,
As men, perched high on harvest lands, waved whips and called in cheery tones;
For not a man had ill to speak of open-handed Johnny then,
Since, with its fortune at the peak, the old town valued spending men.
And Johnny spent, come shine, come rain; and earned and spent and carried on
With his prophetic trade-refrain of 'Going - Going - Going - Gone!'
Johnny Nock, the auctioneer, at his more important sales
Always stood the crowd free beer, serving it from bright tin pails. And, as the pannikins passed round, few were too churlish not to quaff,
While Johnny, from his vantage ground, tossed banter back, and laugh for laugh
At some broad jest, then paused to praise this 'splendid beast,' these 'fine fat
Then, as the bids began to rise, vowed dolefully they went too cheap.
And sudden optimists would grant that as a rustic wit he shone,
This wag, with his familiar chant of 'Going - Going - Going - Gone!'
So Johnny Nock, the auctioneer, spent and prospered, spent again,
Till 'Progress' brought the railroad here, and out across the Mallee plain.Then puzzled men knew vague unease as prices, too, began to fall;
They talked about economies, and failed to understand it all.
Yet Johnny Nock, now past his prime, smiled on, and scorned ill-omened tales,
And drew commissions for a time from dismal, beerless mortgage sales.
Then, most men realised, at last, the old town's star no longer shone.
The glory of the reckless past was, 'Going - Going - Going - Gone!'
Old Johnny Nock, the auctioneer, his golden beard now clipped and grey,
In his wheeled-chair dragged out the drear and clouded sunset of his day.
His house, his buckboard, all were sold, his latest pair of prancing roans;
But Johnny, grown infirm and old, greeted all men in jovial tones.
He wheeled himself about the town, still patron of the racing club
For old times' sake; he wore no frown, and found much business at the pub.
Then, one still night, in accents clear he cried, 'Who bids, gents? Carry on!'
And Johnny Nock, the auctioneer was 'Going - Going - Going - Gone!'
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