I think I’ve mentioned poetry once on Reading With Tea, and that was in response to a BTT prompt: I reproduced and spoke about Said Hanrahan, a comedic poem by 1920s Australian poet John O’Brien. Well, here comes a second mention in a bit over 2 years of blogging.
A few nights ago, alone in my creaky little London flat* and a little morose due to the absence of The Physicist on physics-ing duties, I wandered about newly UK-resident film streaming site Netflix. We’re already subscribers of LoveFilm but Netflix sounded good and although its catalogue is a bit limited, it has a marvellous iPad interface. West Wing was not to be had, nor was Friends, and I quickly tired of Saturday Night Live, but then I happened across one of my favourite movies from when I was about 13 years old: the 1982 version of The Man from Snowy River.
The Man from Snowy River is possibly Australia’s most famous poem (not counting Waltzing Matilda, which as it has two popular musical settings, definitely counts as a song rather than a poem), and I memorised the whole thing in my horse-mad early teenage years. I’ve not replicated it here, as it’s just a bit long for a blog post, but you can read the text in its entirety here.
You can also here a recording of the poem being read, set to images from the film here:
The film spends the first hour and ten minutes setting the scene for the ride immortalised in the poem, and even the start of the ride is pretty slow going, but then we come to the absolutely breathtaking daring feats of the Man himself (this time without the poem being read over the top):
I still have my doubts about how on earth the pony (for so he is called in the poem) stayed on his feet after clearing the log on the descent, but I like to have a little belief and say that the ride is real. Also I’m going to keep the faith and say that Tom Burlinson did all that riding himself, in his trusty dusty Akubra hat, but I’m willing to concede that it’s unlikely.
I don’t really know why I’m posting about this poem, I don’t have any great literary criticism to give, it’s just something that’s close to my heart. The theme music from the film was actually featured at the opening ceremony to the Sydney Olympics, which I was lucky enough not only to attend but also to have a relative performing in the ceremony, so it brings back some amazing memories.
*Why oh why did the builders of my apartment block in 2003 not manage to lay the floors properly? I’ve learned not to let it bother me – except when I’m alone at night, when it freaks me out rather thoroughly and consistently!