Monday, February 17, 2014

Day 1596 - Banjo Patterson

Happy Birthday Banjo! 

Banjo Patterson
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Today is Banjo Patterson's birthday.  How do I know? Coz Google told me.  And I figured, if Google can celebrate Andrew Barton "Banjo" Patterson's birthday, so can Deep Fried Fruit.  Banjo would have to be my favourite Aussie poet. I'm not sure how I got to know Banjo's work, but I am thinking it had a lot to do with my father.  He was always reciting from "The Man from Snowy River".

There's a bunch of Banjo poems I loved as a kid.  A Bush Christening was a particular favourite.  I also loved Clancy of the Overflow, Mulga Bill's Bicycle and The Man from Ironbark.  Of course we can't leave out "The Man from Snowy River" or "Waltzing Matilda".

If Banjo was alive today he'd be 150! I think that's worthy of celebration.

Today I share with you A Bush Christening.  

On the outer Barcoo where the churches are few, 
And men of religion are scanty, 
On a road never cross'd 'cept by folk that are lost, 
One Michael Magee had a shanty. 

Now this Mike was the dad of a ten year old lad, 
Plump, healthy, and stoutly conditioned; 
He was strong as the best, but poor Mike had no rest 
For the youngster had never been christened. 

And his wife used to cry, "If the darlin' should die 
Saint Peter would not recognise him." 
But by luck he survived till a preacher arrived, 
Who agreed straightaway to baptise him. 

Now the artful young rogue, while they held their collogue, 
With his ear to the keyhole was listenin', 
And he muttered in fright, while his features turned white, 
"What the divil and all is this christenin'?" 

He was none of your dolts, he had seen them brand colts, 
And it seemed to his small understanding, 
If the man in the frock made him one of the flock, 
It must mean something very like branding. 

So away with a rush he set off for the bush, 
While the tears in his eyelids they glistened — 
"Tis outrageous," says he, "to brand youngsters like me, 
I'll be dashed if I'll stop to be christened!" 

Like a young native dog he ran into a log, 
And his father with language uncivil, 
Never heeding the 'praste' cried aloud in his haste, 
"Come out and be christened, you divil!" 

But he lay there as snug as a bug in a rug, 
And his parents in vain might reprove him, 
Till his reverence spoke (he was fond of a joke) 
"I've a notion," says he, "that'll move him." 

"Poke a stick up the log, give the spalpeen a prog; 
Poke him aisy — don't hurt him or maim him, 
'Tis not long that he'll stand, I've the water at hand, 
As he rushes out this end I'll name him. 

"Here he comes, and for shame! ye've forgotten the name — 
Is it Patsy or Michael or Dinnis?" 
Here the youngster ran out, and the priest gave a shout — 
"Take your chance, anyhow, wid `Maginnis'!" 

As the howling young cub ran away to the scrub 
Where he knew that pursuit would be risky, 
The priest, as he fled, flung a flask at his head 
That was labelled 'MAGINNIS'S WHISKY'! 

And Maginnis Magee has been made a J.P., 
And the one thing he hates more than sin is 
To be asked by the folk, who have heard of the joke, 
How he came to be christened 'Maginnis'!

Happy Birthday Banjo! 

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