Overflow thread

For comments that don’t belong.

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8 comments to Overflow thread

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    Love this. Oz Poetry close to its finest, from Andrew Barton 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’.

    I finally left the school education system in 1966 at the end of Year Ten to join the RAAF the following January 1967.

    In all the days you spend at school, you have Text books, and I still have one of those text books on my book shelf. It’s a book of Australian Poetry titled The Call Of The Gums. In those days it was sometimes a task to review poetry for English. Now I still occasionally read it for pleasure. Amazing how stuff gets in you head, and then stays there.



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      Roy Hogue

      One of the striking differences between attitudes of teenagers and adults is how much our appreciation for things like poetry and music can change. When I was in junior high school one required course was music appreciation. Day after day we sat there listening to and supposedly “appreciating” music, mostly variations on classical. And if not listening we were lectured about it. I was so turned off by the experience that by the end of the semester I resented the whole thing, Beethoven. It felt like they were shoving the stuff down my throat whether or not I cared about it.

      It wasn’t until much later that I rediscovered what they were trying to show me. But this time it was on my own and I began to not only appreciate but collect that classical music. A little later I put together a high quality system with which to listen to it. Beethoven and Mozart are well represented in my collection along with many others and I’ve had many hours of pleasure from what as a teenager, I rejected.

      I recognize now that what I didn’t like was the thinly veiled implication that there was something wrong with me if I didn’t like what someone else thought was “correct” music. At that point I was a country and western fan already and how dare they tell me what to appreciate?

      If they had never wasted my time in that course I would still be where I am today.

      I never did develop a taste for poetry though. Of course, I had to study it anyway.


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        one of my favourite Classical pieces is by an English composer Gustav Holst, his Planets Suite, and I have the version performed by The New York Philharmonic, conducted by Leonard Bernstein in 1971.



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          Roy Hogue

          The Planets is a masterpiece.

          It’s really hard to pick a favorite since there’s so much good stuff. But I like the Beethoven piano concerto #5, the Mozart piano concerto #23 and the Dvorak symphony #9. Then there’s George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. And the pipe organ mixed with a symphony orchestra in the Saint Saens symphony #3 is pure ear candy. I have two recordings of it on CD and either one will shake the walls and windows.

          I can’t begin to name them all. It’s a wonderful world of the most creative musical talents you could hope for.



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    Great minds think alike. I too joined the RAAF in 1967. Coincidentally, I come from not very far from The Overflow and the poem has always had a firm grip on my heart. Thanks for posting it, Tony. (I wonder if our paths ever crossed during our time in the RAAF.)


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    I put this thread up in the hope I could move the comments that were OT from the Rutherglen thread, but it proved too difficult. The nested nature of comments means whole branches have to be moved at once, or the nesting disintegrates and orphan comments line up at the bottom of the post. But the #10 nest was too large. I forgot to delete this temporary post, but I’m glad it proved useful. It can stay. :- )


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      Doug Cotton’s comments are rarely on topic. Actually possibly never. You could just create a whole thread for him! Even better that he makes his own blog. It does look like the attempts to deal with it in the Rutherglen thread has messed things up.