Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

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

Old Town Types No. 7 - Poem by Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

Well I remember him - Big Jack Herrington;
Big Jack, the lumper, tanned and honest-eyed,
The clean, straight limbs of him,
The strength in those limbs of him
Strength that was the end of him, and once had been his pride:
Big Jack Herrington, toiling up the stack,
Hefting up the wheat sacks on his mighty back.

One year, two years he labored when the wheat came;
Three years, four years, in the grimy heat,
Toiling up the planks there
The crazy, narrow planks there.
Folk said, 'A wonder! Why, there's nothing got him beat!'
Never had he faltered beneath a heavy bag
Big, Jack, the lumper, never known to sag.

For five years, for big pay he larbored there.
'Ten bob a day!' they said. 'Jack's the boy to score.'
And then came the end of him
A false step, and the end of him;
And Big Jack, the lumper, he toiled no more.
Twisted now and broken - his body and his pride,
Big Jack lingered on, a cripple till he died.

Old Jack Herrington, sitting in the bar-room,
Hoping for a kind friend, waiting for a 'shout.'
Men said, 'Remember him?'
Course I remember him.
Best about the stock yard till his strength gave out.
Booze never beat him till that tumble turned him queer....
Hey! Old Jack, there! Have another beer?'

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, August 28, 2012

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