Australian poet CJ Dennis (1876-1938) produced several famous verse stories. The Songs of A Sentimental Bloke, The Moods of Ginger Mick, The Glugs of Gosh and others are well known and readily obtainable at new and second-hand book stores, or can easily be found on-line. Fewer people, though, are familiar with his last book, The Singing Garden, published in 1935, three years before he died.
The Singing Garden is not a verse story but contains dozens of poems and several essays "Den" wrote about the birds he knew from around his home, "Arden", in the small forest-encircled town of Toolangi, nestled in the hills north of Melbourne.
The poems are delightful personifications of the birds, written from the bird's imagined point of view. They are amusing, entertaining and even instructive, and demonstrate that nature, and particularly birds, were keenly observed and loved by the poet.
The poems first appeared as a series in The Herald newspaper in Melbourne from 1932 to 1933. They were collected and published with additional poems and essays in The Singing Garden in 1935. It appears that the book has never been reprinted and copies of it are now very scarce and difficult to find.
On Bushpea, we are therfore delighted and priviliged to make available on-line, some for the very first time, all of the poems and essays from The Singing Garden. Simply click on the links in the Contents list at the left of this page.
To learn more of C J Dennis and to read more of his work, visit Perry Middlemiss's informative Australian Literature website.