The Looting of Jim [poem by C.J. Dennis]

[Editor: This poem by C.J. Dennis was published in Backblock Ballads and Other Verses (1913). 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 Looting of Jim.

Jim Johnson is a farmin’ man — he is a farmin’ man —
And all year round the skin peels off his nose,
For up that way, I’ve heard them say, the sun is wont to tan
The farmin’ man.
And oh, to see his clothes!
He wears the strangest cast-ir’n lookin’ clothes.

For when he’s dressed up in his best — that is his very best —
Jim Johnson is the weirdest sight to see.
You’d be inclined to call to mind, when you beheld his vest,
And — er — the rest.
The local founderee.
A casting from the local founderee.

Now, do not think me rude; I’m not.
I certainly am not;
For Jim was honest, tho’ his style amused:
Aye, as the sun, or any one; and sometimes just as hot —
That’s when he got
Excited or confused.
And he was most pathetic when confused.

Well, just to cut the story short — (I’m sure you like it short) —
Jim Johnson recently said to his wife,
He thought he’d go and see the Show, he said he surely ought;
He ought he thought,
Just one time in his life.
He said he’d like to just for once in life.

And so she brushed his Berlin suit — his cast-ir’n Sunday suit —
And Jimmy brushed his whiskers various ways;
Then got his nag and carpet bag, and, after some dispute,
Got on the brute,
And faced the city maze —
Went, via railway station, to the maze.

Now, Jimmy knew a thing or two — a thing or two he knew;
In fact, he wasn’t quite the jay he seemed;
For he had heard a warning word — a friendly word or two
About the crew
Of spieling men who schemed —
Of how to rob poor farming men they schemed.

So, thinkin’ hard he kept his guard — kept closely on his guard.
No purse-trick person had a chance with him.
He sort of thought he didn’t ought to have his pleasure marred
In this regard,
Considered cunnin’ Jim.
“I’ll floor ’em if they tackle me,” said Jim.

He viewed the city Show with glee — with most abounding glee.
The pigs and cattle interested him;
And there he ran against a man who strangely seemed to be
Excessively
Delighted to see Jim,
Tho’ Jim could not remember knowin’ him.

The stranger was extremely free — familiarly free;
In fact, he was most intimate indeed.
He had, he told, an uncle old, and then explained that he
Was in Fiji;
But he did not proceed.
He was too bruised and battered to proceed.

For Jim — well, you will understand — I’m sure you’ll understand:
“Revoltin’ details best not written down.”
Jim gave him fits, then wiped the bits of stranger off his hand —
His hairy hand —
And strolled around the town —
Went out the gates to stroll around the town.

And it was there he met the gal — a very pretty gal;
But whether he met her or she met him
Up to this day he cannot say. “Please, for the Hospi-tal.”
Thus said the gal;
And then she smiled at Jim.
The damsel sweetly smiled. That finished Jim.

And such a charming girl was she — a perfect peach was she;
The sort that sort of takes your breath away —
Your breath and things — small offerings.
Her sphere appeared to be
Society.
And, say, her smile was gay;
Her smile was most embarrassing and gay.

He blushed behind his whiskers, and — his bushy whiskers — and
Remarked — well, he ain’t quite sure what he said,
Altho’, poor bloke, he must have spoke; for you will understand
He was unmanned
And queer about the head.
Nice girls, they always queered him in the head.

She wanted money for a cause — a most deserving cause;
At least, I’ve gathered facts to that extent.
And in his pockets Jim he socks his large and hairy paws,
And then withdraws,
And gives her ev’ry cent.
Except his railway ticket — ev’ry cent.

Of course, there’s no excuse for Jim — I ain’t excusin’ Jim;
But picture if you think there’s cause for blame —
A charming imp, and him all limp.
Supposing you were him —
If you were Jim —
I think you’d do the same.
You would if you had whiskers just the same.

And afterwards, when Jim he fled — back to his home he fled —
(I think I told you he was on the land) —
His missus she, well — seems to me that — anyhow, “Nuff sed” —
The past is dead.
I’m sure you’ll understand —
You’ll surely have the sense to understand.



Source:
C.J. Dennis. Backblock Ballads and Other Verses, E. W. Cole, Melbourne, [1913], pages 24-27

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