Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

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

The Broken-Teapot - Poem by Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

Mum's bit of egg money on the mantelpiece
In the broken teapot in the olden days,
Hardly earned and hoarded there,
Much content afforded there
Long before inspectors came and bureaucratic ways.
But science by the barn-door rules the farmer's lot
And Mum's bit of egg-money dwindles in the pot.

Ever since the first years this was mother's perquisite,
Eggs daily gathered by the old barn door,
From the stable gathered in,
From the shed and fodder bin,
Carted in and traded at the small town store;
Gathered from the wayward hen laying far afield
As the new-cleared acres gave their golden yield.


Long it was a stand-by while the kids were little ones
Mum's broken teapot resting on the shelf
Some print to make a dress for Lil,
Sunday boots for Joe and Bill,
A loan to Dad and, now and then, a trifle for herself:
Growing heavy Christmas time by dint of watchful thrift
To buy a little Christmas cheer and here and there a gift.

But Mum's bit of egg-money grows a thing of history,
And Mum's broken teapot an heirloom now indeed,
Since Science ousts the picturesque;
And Dad has bought an office desk
To puzzle o'er official rules and size and weight and breed.
But Mum is brooding darkly o'er the forbidden egg,
Which, like a furtive gangsteress, she threatens to bootleg.


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, August 28, 2012



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