I picked up a cheap copy of C.J. Dennis’s The Glugs of Gosh while we were on holidays a couple of weeks ago. Last year I heard a great episode of Radio National’s Book Show that explored this poem in depth, so I thought I’d take a punt. I’m about halfway through it at the moment and absolutely loving its playful social satire and its deft rhyme and rhythm.
The quote below is from chapter one, “The Glug Quest”. It sets the tone for the rest of the book with its skill and humour, and its well-tempered balance of cynicism and hope.
Throw wide the portals and let your thoughts run
Over the earth like a galloping herd.
Bounds to profundity let there be none,
Let there be nothing too madly absurd.
Ponder on pebbles or stock exchange shares,
On the mission of man or the life of a bug,
On planets or billiards, policemen or bears,
Alert all the time for the sight of a Glug.
Meditate deeply on softgoods or sex,
On carraway seeds or the causes of bills,
Biology, art, or mysterious wrecks,
Or the tattered white fleeces of clouds on blue hills.
Muse upon ologies, freckles and fog,
Why hermits live lonely and grapes in a bunch,
On the ways of a child or the mind of a dog,
Or the oyster you bolted last Friday at lunch.
Perry Middlemiss has put the entire poem up on his website. Well worth taking the time to read in its entirety.