Cow [poem by C. J. Dennis]

[Editor: This poem by C. J. Dennis was published in Backblock Ballads and Other Verses (1913) and Backblock Ballads and Later Verses (1918).]

Cow

Aw, go write yer tinklin’ jingle, an’ yer pretty phrases mingle,
Fer the mamby-pamby girl, all fluffy frill an’ shinin’ silk.
That’s the sort to bring you trouble, when you tries ’em in the double.
Blow your beauty! Wot’s the matter with the maiden ’oo kin milk?
Them there rhymers of the wattle! An’ the bardlet of the bottle —
’Im that sings of sparklin’ wine, an’ does a perish fer the beer;
An’ your slap-dash ’orsey poet! Why, if you blokes only know it,
You ’ave missed the single subject fit to rhyme about down ’ere.
An’ although I ain’t a poet with the bays upon me brow,
I consider that it’s up to me to sing about The Cow.

Cow, Cow —
(Though it ain’t a pretty row,
It’s a word that ’ipnotises me; I couldn’t tell you how.)
Though I ain’t a gifted rhymer,
Nor a blamed Parnassus climber,
I’m inspired to sing a tune er two about the Blessed Cow.

Oh, the cow-bells are a-tinklin’, and the daisies are a twinklin’ —
Well, that ain’t the style ersackly I intended for to sing.
’Ark, was ever music greater then the buzzin’ sepyrater,
Coinin’ gaily money daily for the — no, that’s not the thing!
’Omeward comes the cows a-lowin’, an’ the buttercups are blowin’;
But there’s better butter in the — Blarst ! That ain’t the proper way!
See the pretty milkmaid walkin’ — aw, but what’s the use of talkin’?
Listen ’ere, I want to tell you this: A COW’S THE THING TO PAY!
Sell yer ’orses, sell your ’arrers, an’ your reapers, an’ your plough;
If you want your land to pay you, sacrifice your life to Cow.

Cow, Cow —
Sittin’ underneath the bough,
With a bail, an’ with a pail, an’ with a little stool, an’ thou
Kickin’ when I pull your teat or
Swishin’ flies, my pretty creatur.
Ah, there ain’t no music sweeter — money squirtin’ from the Cow.

Listen to the lowin’ cattle. Listen to the buckets’ rattle,
See, the sun is — (’ERE! YOU BILL! D’you mean to stay all day asleep?
’Ustle, or you’ll get a taste er — Wot? No cheek, you flamin’ waster!
This is wot I get for payin’ ’ARF A QUID A WEEK AND KEEP!
Talk about your Unions, will you? Right, my covey, wait until you
Come ’ere crawlin’ — WHERE’S THAT SARAH? Ain’t she finished milkin’ Spot?
Is this wot I brought you up for; reared, an’ give you bite an’ sup for?
’Struth! A man’s own kids ’ll next be talkin’ Union, like as not!
Garn, I ain’t got time to listen to your silly sniv’lin’ now.
Understan’ me, you was born an’ bred to THINK AN’ LIVE FOR Cow!)

Cow, Cow —
I’m a capitalist now:
Though I once was poor an’ lonely, an’ a waster I’ll allow.
Now I’ve ’ands that I can hector:
I’m an Upper ’Ouse elector;
An’ the Sanit’ry Inspector is an interferin’ cow!

Talk about your modern schoolin’! Education’s wasteful foolin’!
I got on all right without it — only teaches youngsters cheek —
(Where’s young Tom? Wot? Ain’t ’e back yet? Sam, go —
’Ere! YOU’LL GET THE SACK YET!
Wastin’ time there, washin’ buckets! THEM WUS WASHED LAST TUESDAY WEEK!
Tell young Tom if ’e don’t ’urry, I’ll — . Now, mother, don’t you worry.
I’ll deal Christian with ’im; but I’m not a Bible pa by ’alf.
That old Scripture cove was driv’llin’; when ’is prodigal come sniv’lin’,
Why, the blazin’, wasteful crim’nal GOES AN’ KILLS A PODDY CALF!
I’m no dotin’ daddy, but I know me duty, you’ll allow,
An’ the children of my loins is bound to ’ave respect for Cow.)

Cow, Cow —
Bow your ’eads, you blighters, bow!
Come an’ be initiated. Come an’ take the milky vow.
Put your wife an’ fam’ly in it;
Work ’em ev’ry wakin’ minit;
Fetch your sordid soul an’ pin it, signed an’ sealed an’ sold to COW.



Source:
C. J. Dennis, Backblock Ballads and Later Verses, Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1918, pages 110-113

Previously published in:
C. J. Dennis, Backblock Ballads and Other Verses, Melbourne: E. W. Cole, [1913], pages 74-76

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