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            A  LEGENDARY  RHYME

 

There's  a  story  I  grew  up  with,   one  that  always  stirs  my heart

      With  overwhelming,   patriotic  pride,

I  need  only  hear  the  first  few  lines  to  feel  I'm  taking  part

      In  the  'Man  from  Snowy  River's'  famous  ride.

As  the  familiar  words  entrance  me,   drumming  hoofbeats  fill  my

                mind,

      A  rebellious  colt  tastes  freedom  and  he  goes

Cavorting  through  the  ranges  with  the  outlaws  of  his  kind

      Far  from  sheltered  stable  and  the  pampered  life  he  knows.

 

Secretly  I  sympathise  but  caught  up  in  the  tale

     Understand  his  owner's  anger  and  frustration,

I  fancy  then  I'm  sitting  on  the  highest  stockyard  rail

     Watching  Paterson's  bush  characters  arriving  at  the  station.

Mr.  Harrison  is  there,   of  course,    stamping  feet  and  glaring,

     Snapping  orders,   thrusting  fingers  through  unruly  snow - white

hair,

Stockmen  checking  stirrup  leather  spend  long  minutes  staring

     At  the  rugged  blue-green  outline  of  the  untamed  hills  out there.

 

When  the  wary  brumbies  bolted  I  was  right  up  there  behind  them,

     My  imaginary  pony  matching  Clancy's  stride  for  stride,

"They've  got  away",   he  shouted,   "In  those  hills  you'll  never find

             them!"

      I  gave  my  eager  horse  it's  head   straight  down  that  mountain

              side.                    

The  hop  scrub  tangled  densely  where  decaying   logs  lay  hiding,

     My  sure-footed  mount  unerringly  chose  the  safest  track

With  a  mountain  pony's  instinct  that  didn't  need  my  guiding,

     We found those  horses,   turned  those  horses,   brought  those horses

               back.                                                            

                                                                          

Close  my  eyes  -  I'm  at my  father's knee,  my  mother  sitting, reading,

      At  the  end  of  'Man  from  Snowy'   my  hot  tears   well  and  flow,

"Daddy,   why  did  he  spur  his  pony  'til  it's  sides  were  torn  and

                bleeding ?"

     Shaking  his  head  sadly,  Dad  confessed  he  didn't  know,

My  Dad  believed  a  pony's  spirit  should  be  prized  and  never broken,

      Handled  them  with  patience,   they  responded  to  his  skill

With  a   trustful  confidence  the  gentle  hands  had  woken,

     He  stressed "Good  horses  and  good  riders  don't  need  spurs and

                 never  will."

 

So,   forgive  me,   Mr.  Paterson, I   do  not   wish  to  offend,

     As  a  poet  you're  the  Master,   humbly  I  salute  you,   Sir,

I   have  altered  one  line  slightly  in  these  verses  you  have penned,

    My  courageous  pony  ' needed  not   the  whip  or  spur ! '

I'll  always love  'The  Man  from  Snowy  River',  there  is  something  in

                the  rhythm

    Carries   me  back  swiftly   to  another  place  and  time,

Once  again  I'm  in  the  saddle   full  gallop  wildly   with  him,

     Through the rousing  words  and  magic  of  this  legendary   rhyme