C J Dennis Poems >>
The Listener

Why, certainly.  Let's listen to the cricket.
  Oh, I'm quite keen.  Test match, I understand.
At... What's that?  Oh, Australia's at the wicket.
  South Africa -- a most intriguing land.
Yes, I was there in -- nineteen -- let me see --
  In nineteen -- Dear me!  Memory is so tricky.
Met Cecil Rhodes, you know.  He said to me,
  I recollect -- eh?  Oh.  The wicket's sticky.

Great Cecil Rhodes.  There was a master mind,
  A dreamer, yet so practical, creative.
South Africa, Well, well.  Today I find
  Their urgent problem doubtless is the native,
Zulus, you know.  Basutos.  In the war
  With Kruger -- Eh?  Oh, sorry.  Are they playing?
Really?  What's all the caterwauling for?
  Eagleton out?  Pity... What was I saying?

Of course, yes, Africa.  I've seen it all,
  From Jo'burg up thro' Kenya to Fashoda.
One night in Cairo I plainly recall --
  (Oh, thanks.  A very small one.  Heaps of soda)...
That day I brought my first big lion down -
  Wounded, you know.  I thought my time had ended.
Just then Smith fired -- Beg pardon?  Brown?  Who's Brown?
  Oh, hit another fourer did he?  Splendid!...

...So then the old witch doctor made his magic.
  Ghastly!  Incredible!  Yet, who could doubt?
That's Africa, mysterious primal, tragic,
  Those voodoo rites ... McCabe?  Is he yet out?
What?  Finished, have they?  Thought I missed the din.
  Twenty to two?  It can't be!  Shocking!  Shocking!
Thanks for allowing me to listen in.
  Enjoyed it, too.  Well, I shan't need much rocking.