Logic and Spotted Dog [poem by C. J. Dennis]

[Editor: This poem by C. J. Dennis was published in Doreen (1917).]

Logic and Spotted Dog

“Unless you ’ide that axe,” she sez, “’E’ll ’urt ’imself reel bad.
An’ after all — Now, Bill, don’t cry! — that trouble that I’ve ’ad,
Wiv ’im thro’ croop an’ whoopin’ corf, ’e goes an’ cuts ’imself!
Why don’t you ’ang it on the wall, or ’ide it on a shelf?
But there it wus, jist thrown about. You ort to take more care!
You left it there!

“You left it there,” she sez, “an’ now . . .” I sez, “’Old on a jiff.
Let’s git the fac’s all sorted out before we ’as a tiff.
I’m mighty careful wiv that axe, an’ never leaves it out.
An’ I’d be mad if that young imp got knockin’ it about.”
“Ole axe!” she sez. Look at ’is thumb! A precious lot you care!
You left it there!”

I am marri’d to a woman; which is nacheral an’ right.
I sez that over to meself, fer safety, day an’ night.
Most times I sez it fond an’ proud wiv gladness in me mind;
But sometimes philosophic-like an’ wot yeh’d call resigned.
“An axe as sharp as that,” she sez. “It reely isn’t fair!
You left it there!

“The way you pet that axe,” she sez — “the way it’s ground an’ filed,
The way you fairly fondle it, you’d think it wus a child!
An’ when I pick the ole thing up to cut a bit uv string
Yeh rave an’ shout . . .” “Wait on,” I sez. “But ir’n’s a different thing.
An’ you wus choppin’ fencin’ wire!” She sez, “Well, I don’t care.
You left it there!”

I ’elps meself to spotted dog, an’ chews, an’ thinks a while.
“I’m reely sorry,” I begins. Then, as I seen ’er smile,
I plays ’er fer the fun uv it, an’ sez, “But, all the same,
If he gits foolin’ wiv that axe ’e’s got ’imself to blame.”
’Er eyes spark up. “A child like that! Now, Bill, it isn’t fair!
You left it there!”

I cuts another slice an’ sez, “This spotted dog’s a treat.
Uv course, ’ooever left it there,” I sez, “wus — indiscreet.”
“Careless!” she sez. “You know you are! ’E might ’a’ cut ’is face!
An axe as sharp as that,” she sez, “should be kep’ in its place.”
“Quite right,” I sez. “An’ not,” she sez, “jist thrown round anywhere.
You left it there!”

An’ then I lets ’er ’ave it, an’ I sez, “Now, think a bit.
I put that axe away last night when all the wood wus split.”
“Well, that’s enough about it now,” she sez. I seen ’er wince,
An’ sez, “I put that axe away, an’ ’aven’t used it since;
But someone else wus usin’ it this mornin’, I kin swear,
An’ left it there.”

“Well, never mind . . . Poor Bill!” she sez. “Was ’is poor thumb all ’urt?”
(Oh, it’s entertainin’ sometimes fer to argue wiv a skirt.)
“There’s someone else,” I sez, an’ grins, an’ kids I’m doin’ fine,
“Wus usin’ it this mornin’ fer to cut a bit uv pine.
So now,” I sez, “apolergise! I’ve beat you fair an’ square!
You left it there!”

Fer ’arf a mo she pets young Bill, an’ would’nt meet me eye.
Thinkin’ she wus — I knew she wus. An’ then she lets it fly:
“If you ’ad cut that wood,” she sez, “an’ I implored you to,
There wouldn’t be no need fer me to ’ave sich things to do!
It ain’t right fer a woman . . .” “’Ere!” I sez. “Now, I don’t care
’Oo left it there!”

“Uv course you don’t!” she gits me back. “You never care a bit!
An’ it ain’t right fer a woman to ’ave kin’lin’ wood to split;
While there’s a man about the ’ouse!” I sees the tears is near,
An’ pats ’er ’air. “Now, let it drop,” I sez. “Don’t worry, dear.”
“’Ow can I let it drop?” she sobs. “You said you didn’t care
’Oo left it there”

“I do!” I yells. “I mean — I don’t — I . . .” Oh, Gaw spare me days!
When you argue wiv a woman she ’as got you either ways!
You ’ave to do it in the end; an’ so I licks the dirt,
An’ sez, “Dear, I apolergise. I’m — sorry — if I ’urt.”
Yes, I’m marri’d to a woman. An’ she smiles, an’ strokes me ’air,
An — leaves it there.



Source:
C. J. Dennis, Doreen, Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1917, pages 8-12

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