Clarence Michael James Dennis

Aesthete in the Avenue

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Within the wooded avenue I stood,
And I was proud.
I looked upon the scene and found it good;
For here, I vowed,
Reigned Beauty rare. Sweet praises filled my mouth
For this, the loveliest city of the south;
Yet not a soul could hear,
Altho' my lyric praise with fervor flowed;
For, as I spoke, there rumbled down the road
A lorry-load of beer.

I tried again. I spoke of civic pride,
Aesthetic joy.
With those rare phrases, culled from far and wide,
Poets employ.
I waxed in aphoristic ecstasy,
Hymning the loveliness of sky and tree;
Yet not a single soul
Gave heed to me; for sudden thunders grew
As round the bend there lumbered into view
A waggon piled with coal.

"Goths!" I exclaimed. "Did you raise Beauty here
In this green place
But for the sport of flinging coal and beer
In her sweet face?"
A large truck missed me by a hair's-breadth then
Manned by a crew of large, unlovely men
Who jeered and darned my eyes.
"Vandals!" I shouted. "Nay, repent your sins!"
Then leapt again to dodge a load of skins
That smelled unto the skies.

Still on they came, truck, waggon, rank on rank,
I dodged, I leapt;
The threw myself upon a grassy bank
And there I wept,
Wept for the city . . . A park-keeper came,
A mean, ungracious man, who took my name.
"O man!" I cried. "Alas,
See how I weep. Must beauty disappear?"
Said he: "Buzz orf! You can't do that there 'ere.
Spoilin' our nice noo grass!"

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Clarence Michael James Dennis