The Publisher [poem by C. J. Dennis]

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

The Publisher

I’d like to be a publisher, and publish massive tomes
Written in a massive style by blokes with massive domes —
Science books, and histories of Egypt’s day and Rome’s,
Books of psycho-surgery to mine the minds of momes,
And solemn pseudo-psychic stuff to tell where Topsy roams
When her poor clay is put away beneath the spreading holms;
Books about electrocuting little seeds with ohms
To sternly show them how to grow in sands, and clays, and loams,
And bravely burst infinitives, like angry agronomes;
Books on breeding aeroplanes and airing aerodromes,
On bees that buzz in bonnets and the kind that build the combs,
Made plain with pretty pictures done in crimsons, mauves, and chromes;
And diagrams to baulk the brain of Mr. Sherlock Holmes.
I’d set the scientists to work like superheated gnomes,
And make them write and write and write until the printer foams
And lino men, made “loony,” go to psychopathic homes.
I’d publish books, I would — large books on ants and antinomes
And palimpsests and palinodes and pallid palindromes:
But I wouldn’t be a publisher if . . . .
I got many “pomes.”

Would you?

C. J. Dennis. A Book for Kids, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, [1921], page 116

Editor’s notes:
agronome = an agronomist, someone who works with crop production and soil management

antinome = something that is contradictory or opposite to something else

holm = a small inland (especially an inshore island, such as an island located in a lake or a river); or low flat land beside a river or stream

loam = soil comprised of a mixture of clay, sand, silt, and organic matter

mome = blockhead, fool

ohm = a measurement unit of electrical resistance

palimpsest = writing material (usually parchment; but also refer to other forms, such as clay tablets) which has been re-used one or more times after the original writing (in part or in full) has been erased

palindrome = a word, line, sentence, verse, or number that is the same whether read backwards or forwards (e.g. civic; Otto; racecar; Madam, I’m Adam; 2002)

palinode = an ode, poem, or song which recants or retracts something the author has said in an earlier ode, poem, or song

pome = poem

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