Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

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

This Momentous Mummery - Poem by Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

Well, I don't know. Maybe it's quite all right,
And maybe it is I who am perverse,
Finding in this unedifying sight
Mere mummery, and hearing but a blight
Of words and frowsty fustian - or worse
Maybe I'm wrong; and homosapiens yet,
Among the sentient, stays wise Nature's pet.

First the exordium, restrained and grim,
Stirring emotions, spreading subtle spells;
And then the swelling voice, the waving limb,
The flashing eye, the pep, the yells, the vim
The crashing peroration - and hell's bells! ...
Old stuff, so I was once led to suppose
Archaic stuff, and yet it goes, it goes.

Once Epictetus or - well, shall we say
Marcus Aurelius stirred in me a hope,
As reason grew and error fell away,
Giants might rise to lead us in our day
Out of this darkened maze in which men grope.
But now I know the man who gets that job
Is he who can spellbind the muddied mob.

But life's a paradox - Mayhap I'm wrong
In seeking guidance from the enlightened wise
Looking for leaders in the sanely strong
To spread sweet reason 'mid the puzzled throng
A paradox all men must recognise;
And it may be our world shall yet give thanks,
And owe salvation to its mountebanks.


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, August 30, 2012



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