The Sparrow [poem by C. J. Dennis]

[Editor: This poem by C. J. Dennis was published in The Singing Garden (1935).]

The Sparrow

I’m a chirpie little chappie.
Pertly vulgar, passing vain,
Quarrelsome, yet piping, happy,
My monotonous refrain.
Foraging by shed and stable,
Close camp-follower of man,
Seeking crumbs from his rich table
Impudently where I can.

On the house-tops, in the hedges,
Following the furthest road,
I am ever at the edges
Of the pioneer’s abode.
Lest, mayhap, he should grow lonely
Where his venturing footsteps roam,
I am close behind, if only
For a memory of home.

Where the quiet farm house slumbers,
I make merry in the wheat;
Where the city’s traffic lumbers
I am vocal in the street.
If man’s economic capers
Feathered toilers e’er should mar
Surely I’d be selling papers:
“Latest murder! ’Ere you are!”

I’m the gamin of the gutter,
Full of cunning, nothing meek;
’Mid the restless feet I flutter,
Scorning danger, giving cheek.
I’m the friend of man for ever;
Where his furthest outposts lie,
Following his last endeavour
In the wilderness, go I.

C. J. Dennis, The Singing Garden, Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1935, pages 135-136

Editor’s notes:
e’er = ever

’mid = an abbreviation of “amid” or “amidst”: of or in the middle of an area, group, position, etc.

Vernacular spelling in the original text:
’ere (here)

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