Thursday, 15 March 2007

Poetry Thursday - define


-“I get a sense you are anti-Podeon. Am I correct, Sir?”

-“Awww…I wouldn’t know anything about that, Mate.
Didn’t know the bloke.
He died long before my time.
I got nothin’ against the French, but.
Although, I didn’t like his hat much... now that ya mention it.”

© Strauss
14 March 2007

Very, very silly indeed.
This week’s completely and totally optional idea for Poetry Thursday was noted as “defined”. Contributors were asked to scour their dictionaries in search for interesting words. We were not to look at the meaning, but define the word based on our own impressions. I nearly didn’t do this one. I tried earlier in the week, but it didn’t really work for me. Then I remembered, that I was asked the above question, soon after arriving in Canada. Was I Antipodean? The inquirer was met with a blank glaze-eyed stare, as I answered in a rather ambling monotonous voice; I am Australian. He replied that he “thought so” and then he left. In response, I scurried off home in search of a dictionary, for I had never heard the word, antipodean, in my life.

I am often asked straight out, if I am Australian or queried as to whether I am an Australian or a New Zealander. The less presumptuous ask where I am from; referring to my accent. So, I have chosen to take a different slant on the defined theme.

Being Australian is among the things and attributes that define me, particularly while living in Canada. So, I thought I might share one of my favourite poems.

Clancy of the Overflow was written by legendary Australian “bush poet”, A.B “Banjo” Paterson. Banjo Paterson’s poetry assisted in romanticising and defining early Australian life, particularly rural life. Banjo Paterson also penned classics, such as Waltzing Matilda and The Man from Snowy River. If you want to learn more about ole Banjo, click on the clink provided.

Clancy of the Overflow
by A. B. 'Banjo' Paterson

I had written him a letter which I had, for want of better
Knowledge, sent to where I met him down the Lachlan, years ago,
He was shearing when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him,
Just on spec, addressed as follows, "Clancy, of The Overflow"

And an answer came directed in a writing unexpected,
(And I think the same was written with a thumb-nail dipped in tar)
Twas his shearing mate who wrote it, and verbatim I will quote it:
"Clancy's gone to Queensland droving, and we don't know where he are."

In my wild erratic fancy visions come to me of Clancy
Gone a-droving "down the Cooper" where the Western drovers go;
As the stock are slowly stringing, Clancy rides behind them singing,
For the drover's life has pleasures that the townsfolk never know.

And the bush hath friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him
In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended,
And at night the wond'rous glory of the everlasting stars.

I am sitting in my dingy little office, where a stingy
Ray of sunlight struggles feebly down between the houses tall,
And the foetid air and gritty of the dusty, dirty city
Through the open window floating, spreads its foulness over all

And in place of lowing cattle, I can hear the fiendish rattle
Of the tramways and the buses making hurry down the street,
And the language uninviting of the gutter children fighting,
Comes fitfully and faintly through the ceaseless tramp of feet.

And the hurrying people daunt me, and their pallid faces haunt me
As they shoulder one another in their rush and nervous haste,
With their eager eyes and greedy, and their stunted forms and weedy,
For townsfolk have no time to grow, they have no time to waste.

And I somehow rather fancy that I'd like to change with Clancy,
Like to take a turn at droving where the seasons come and go,
While he faced the round eternal of the cash-book and the journal --
But I doubt he'd suit the office, Clancy, of The Overflow.

"The Bulletin" 21 December 1889
**Just so you know, Antipode refers to any two places or regions that are on diametrically opposite sides of the earth. Anitpodeans are the inhabitants.


gautami tripathy said...

I like your post. Thanks for introducing me to Banjo Paterson.


Kimberly said...

Wow...that woke my brain up, alright. =P

DewyKnickers said...

:clapping: I love this poem, the word is so obscure and you have made it real.

Thanks for the poem by Banjo, I enjoyed learning about lives long past.



Brian said...

I am struck by the ending of Banjo's poem, in the office and on the streets. We today seem to think that congestion was invented yesterday.

I love your poem, it's short and to the point. Very, very anti-podean if ya' get me drift.

Miscellaneous-Mum said...

I liked it too! Very apt!

Emily said...

Great rhythm of the poem...I can hear it as a song. Thanks for sharing.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I liked your little poem, it made me laughh and thanks for sharing the Banjo Paterson poem. Several years ago an Australian (whose name I forget) turned up at the Scottish Poetry Library to perform Banjo Paterson's poetry and very entertaining it was too...