The Axe-Man [poem by C. J. Dennis]

[Editor: This poem by C. J. Dennis was published in A Book for Kids, 1921.]

The Axe-Man

High on the hills, where the tall trees grow,
There lives an axeman that I know.
From his little hut by a ferny creek,
Day after day, week after week,
He goes each morn with his shining axe,
Trudging along by the forest tracks;
And he chops and he chops till the daylight goes —
High on the hills, where the blue-gum grows.

(Chip! . . Chop! . . Chip! . . Chop!)
There’s a log to move and a branch to lop.
Now to the felling! His sharp axe bites
Into a tree on the forest heights,
And scarce for a breath does the axeman stop —
(Chip! . . Chop! . . Chip! . . Chop!)
Bell-birds watch him; and in the fern
Wallabies listen awhile, and turn
Back through the bracken, and off they hop.
(Chip! . . Chop! . . Chip! . . Chop!)
Patient and tireless, blow on blow
The axeman swings as the minutes go;
While the echoes ring from the mountain-top.
(Chip! . . Chop! . . Chip! . . Chop!)

Round about him the rabbits play,
Skipping and scampering all the day,
And the sweet young grass by the logs they crop.
(Chip! . . Chop! . . Chip! . . Chop!)
Crimson parrots above him climb,
Chattering, chattering all the time,
As down from the branches the twigs they drop.
(Chip! . . Chop! . . Chip! Chop!)
Steadily, surely, on he goes,
Shaking the tree with his mighty blows:
There’s never a pause and there’s never a stop.
(Chip! . . Chop! . . Chip! . . Chop!)
Out from the bush beyond is heard
The swaggering song of the butcher-bird
Seeking a joint for his butcher’s shop.
(Chip! . . Chop! . . Chip! . . Chop!)
Deeper and deeper the cut creeps in,
While the parrots shriek with a deafening din,
And the chips fly out with a flip and a flop.
(Chip! . . Chop! . . Chip! . . Chop!)
Yellow robins come flocking round,
Watching the chips as they fall to ground,
Darting to catch the grubs that drop.
(Chip! . . Chop! . . Chip! . . Chop!)

The blows come quicker. The axe-blade hums,
Stand well back, there, before she comes!
Hark! How the splinters crack and pop —
(Chip! . Chop! . Chip! . Chop!)
Listen! Listen! She’s creaking now!
Look, high up, at that trembling bough!
Another second, and down she’ll smash,
Shaking the earth with a mighty crash;
Look at her! Look at her! (Chip! . . Chop!
Chip! . . . . . . . . Chip!)
Wee – E – E – E – E – E – –
FLOP ! !



Source:
C. J. Dennis. A Book for Kids, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, [1921], pages 82-84

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