The Intro [poem by C.J. Dennis]

[Editor: This poem by C.J. Dennis was published in The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke. Most of the poetry of C.J. Dennis is written in the style of the Australian vernacular. See the glossary for explanations of words and phrases.]


The Intro

’Er name’s Doreen . . . Well, spare me bloomin’ days!
You could ’a’ knocked me down wiv ’arf a brick!
Yes, me, that kids meself I know their ways,
An’ ’as a name for smoogin’ in our click!
I just lines up an’ tips the saucy wink.
But strike! The way she piled on dawg! Yeh’d think
A bloke was givin’ back-chat to the Queen. . . .
’Er name’s Doreen.

I seen ’er in the markit first uv all,
Inspectin’ brums at Steeny Isaacs’ stall.
I backs me barrer in — the same ole way —
An’ sez, “Wot O! It’s been a bonzer day.
’Ow is it fer a walk?” . . . Oh, ’oly wars!
The sorter look she gimme! Jest becors
I tried to chat ’er, like you’d make a start
Wiv any tart.

An’ I kin take me oaf I wus perlite.
An’ never said no word that wasn’t right,
An’ never tried to maul ’er, or to do
A thing yeh might call crook. Ter tell yeh true,
I didn’t seem to ’ave the nerve — wiv ’er.
I felt as if I couldn’t go that fur,
An’ start to sling off chiack like I used . . .
Not intrajuiced!

Nex’ time I sighted ’er in Little Bourke,
Where she was in a job. I found ’er lurk
Wus pastin’ labels in a pickle joint,
A game that — any’ow, that ain’t the point.
Once more I tried ter chat ’er in the street,
But, bli’me! Did she turn me down a treat!
The way she tossed ’er ’ead an’ swished ’er skirt!
Oh, it wus dirt!

A squarer tom, I swear, I never seen,
In all me natchril, than this ’ere Doreen.
It wer’n’t no guyver neither; fer I knoo
That any other bloke ’ad Buckley’s ’oo
Tried fer to pick ’er up. Yes, she wus square.
She jist sailed by an’ lef’ me standin’ there
Like any mug. Thinks I, “I’m out o’ luck,”
An’ done a duck.

Well, I dunno. It’s that way wiv a bloke.
If she’d ha’ breasted up ter me an’ spoke,
I’d thort ’er jist a commin bit o’ fluff,
An’ then fergot about ’er, like enough.
It’s jest like this. The tarts that’s ’ard ter get
Makes you all ’ot to chase ’em, an’ to let
The cove called Cupid get an ’ammer-lock;
An’ lose yer block.

I know a bloke ’oo knows a bloke ’oo toils
In that same pickle found-ery. (’E boils
The cabbitch storks or somethink.) Anyway,
I gives me pal the orfis fer to say
’E ’as a sister in the trade ’oo’s been
Out uv a jorb, an’ wants ter meet Doreen;
Then we kin get an intro, if we’ve luck.
’E sez, “Ribuck.”

O’ course we worked the oricle; you bet!
But, ’struth, I ain’t recovered frum it yet!
’Twas on a Saturd’y, in Colluns Street,
An’ — quite by accident, o’ course — we meet.
Me pal ’e trots ’er up an’ does the toff —
’E allus wus a bloke fer showin’ off.
“This ’ere’s Doreen,” ’e sez. “This ’ere’s the Kid.”
I dips me lid.

“This ’ere’s Doreen,” ’e sez. I sez “Good day.”
An’, bli’me, I ’ad nothin’ more ter say!
I couldn’t speak a word, or meet ’er eye.
Clean done me block! I never been so shy,
Not since I was a tiny little cub,
An’ run the rabbit to the corner pub —
Wot time the Summer days wus dry an’ ’ot —
Fer me ole pot.

Me! that ’as barracked tarts, an’ torked an’ larft,
An’ chucked orf at ’em like a phonergraft!
Gawstruth! I seemed to lose me pow’r o’ speech.
But, ’er! Oh, strike me pink! She is a peach!
The sweetest in the barrer! Spare me days,
I carn’t describe that cliner’s winnin’ ways.
The way she torks! ’Er lips! ’Er eyes! ’Er hair! . . .
Oh, gimme air!

I dunno ’ow I done it in the end.
I reckerlect I arst ter be ’er friend;
An’ tried ter play at ’andies in the park,
A thing she wouldn’t sight. Aw, it’s a nark!
I gotter swear when I think wot a mug
I must ’a’ seemed to ’er. But still I ’ug
That promise that she give me fer the beach.
The bonzer peach!

Now, as the poit sez, the days drag by
On ledding feet. I wish’t they’d do a guy.
I dunno ’ow I’ad the nerve ter speak,
An’ make that meet wiv ’er fer Sund’y week!
But strike! It’s funny wot a bloke’ll do
When ’e’s all out. . . . She’s gorn, when I come-to.
I’m yappin’ to me cobber uv me mash. . . .
I’ve done me dash!

’Er name’s Doreen. . . . An’ me — that thort I knoo
The ways uv tarts, an’ all that smoogin’ game!
An’ so I ort; fer ain’t I known a few?
Yet some’ow . . . I dunno. It ain’t the same.
I carn’t tell wot it is; but, all I know,
I’ve dropped me bundle — an’ I’m glad it’s so.
Fer when I come ter think uv wot I been. . . .
’Er name’s Doreen.

C. J. Dennis. The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1917 [first published 1915], pages 21-27

Editor’s notes:
in all me natchril = a shortened version of the phrase “in all my natural born days”

See the glossary for explanations of words and phrases.

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