Jerry's Cruising Poems

Banjo's Fancy

I remember Banjo's fancy about trading jobs with Clancy
To go droving up in Queensland in that season long ago.
It was freedom he was craving 'cause the city had him raving
With its pushy mobs so noisy in their hurry-worry show.

But today's Australian nation is a land of regulation
And a drover now would chafe from ties of bureaucratic string.
For a license he'd be tested, pay all fees or be arrested -
There's a mess of rules and every one has got a legal sting.

All the safety gear required might be purchased or be hired
But he'd have to have the extra stuff before he hit the road.
"It is all for your protection" says the guy who does inspection
And he takes a few more dollars as he adds weight to the load.

Would old Clancy have expected all the crocs to be protected
And to need another license just to carry his old gun?
Now the tribal land is private, with no permit he can't drive it,
Airborne rangers watch all movement and there's no place free to run.

He must sign a heap of paper before leaving on this caper,
Review business plans with bankers to make sure they couldn't lose.
There'd be taxes on his income and his purchases, fair dinkum,
While insurance costs would make him sing the empty pocket blues.

With new mobile telephony there's no way he could feel lonely,
Every day reporting progress, getting orders from his boss.
Although droving sounds appealing, sets imaginations reeling,
Now the droving life would never have the freedoms that are lost.

Nature's beauty called to Banjo from the Outback's ever-grand show
Far from artificial anthills of the city's stony blocks,
Where the sun still shines as brightly and the stars are wond'rous nightly
And great eagles glide o'er grassy plains and weather-sculpted rocks.

Nature's beauties, beyond rating, for new viewers still are waiting
While the mass of men live grimly in bleak cities, half afraid.
We are called by many voices and we all must make our choices,
And most choose the same as Banjo: Not with Clancy would he trade.

Oh the freedoms and the beauties if he just could leave his duties
At the office in the city and its claims upon his life!
But he'd really put his roots down, gotten used to city's rude sounds,
Had adjusted to the turmoil, even grown to like the strife.

Today dreamers can go sailing, escape cities where they're ailing,
Change their lives to find much beauty in a home upon the waves.
On the sea there are no fences and bureaucracy commences
Only when we pause to visit in a place where streets are paved.

Why not choose the gypsy notions, wander freely across oceans,
Meet new people 'round the world, make your life more fun than pain,
Fill your days with simple pleasures, gather more than dollar treasures,
Seek out Nature's remnant beauties while both you and they remain?

Since old Banjo wrote of Clancy much has changed, and so his fancy
Is not practical for people who want answers for today.
But go cruising and you'll find you have escaped the daily grind and
Gained more freedom and more beauty living life a different way.

Click to read “Clancy of the Overflow” by A. B. "Banjo" Patterson.