January 30, 2011 § Leave a comment


Welcome to the Banjo Bible – the greatest story ever told, as Banjo Paterson might have told it. With some help from Dorothea Mackellar, John O’Brien, and me!

A CD of the poems is available now. Follow the CD link at left for more details.

Click on the title of each poem to read a little more about each one, including the bible verses they are based on.

“My Country”

January 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

“In the beginning God made the heavens and the earth.”  Genesis 1:1

“Let there be light!” the Lord God said,
And “Let there be a sky”,
And “Let us lift some ocean bed
And spread it out to dry”.
And in a word, without admin-
istrative paraph’nalia,
The Lord had done a super thing –
The Lord had made Australia!

He’d made a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
(Though probably, to be precise,
it wasn’t sunburnt yet:
It took a while the sun device,
To rise and shine and set.)

(And droughts and flooding rains you’d think,
Were later sorts of weather:
The Lord’d made enough to drink,
When getting things together).
But still, the far horizons and
The cliffs; the jew-el sea,
The beauty of a southern land:
He caused it all to be!

The setting, then, was ready so
He made some vegetations,
And filled the sky and sea below
With lively populations.
And then he made some animals
To run and bounce and creep:
Some reptiles and some mammamals,
To scurry and to sleep.

By now the place was fairly good,
But still it lacked an item:
The Lord had planned a neighbourhood
Of people to delight him.
And so he turned a dusty sod,
and formed a sprightly fellow.
And then he made a woman’s bod
And soul – to share his pillow.

And though the couple settled in a
Distant northern place,
The Lord had reared a winner
For the maiden human race:
A “ready, steady, multiply!”
And off the folk would spill,
From Eden out to Gundagai,
From Nod to Broken Hill.

And that it’s said told is rougly how
Australia came to be,
It wasn’t just a “big kapow”
Or random by degree.
An owner, drafter, engineer
And builder made the planet,
And having done so, put us here
To woman it, and man it.

“Mulga Bill’s Bicycle”

January 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden. But you must not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it, you will surely die.”  Genesis 2:16

Twas Adam, on an evening walk, who caught the sinful craze
And turned away the gracious Lord who gave him all his days,
He ambled through the garden next to Eve – his darling wife,
And gobbled down the berries from the yummy tree of life.
But lurking in the shrubb’ry was an adder keen to greet:
It mentioned all the fruits and said “Excuse me, can you eat?”

Well Eve, to whom the question travelled, stumbled to a blunder.
She knew of one forbidden tree, but now she fell to wonder:
Perhaps the Lord (and so the serpent said) had been a lying,
Or never really said the tree’s devourer would be dying.
And so she went to seize its crop without another blinking,
Which raises many questions, such as: what was Adam thinking?

Well scripture doesn’t really say, but still it’s worth a guess,
For men throughout the years would make a very sim’lar mess.
Perhaps he thought “Look here, you snake, from Eden to the sea,
From over there to over here, there’s none around like me.
Obedience for me is but a simple, sweet delight –
Just ask a wild duck can it swim, a glow worm can it light?
I’m very good at being good, as everybody knows,
Although I’m not the one to talk – I hate a man that blows.”

And if he reckoned all of that, the tragedy was this:
The Lord had made him full of goodness, blessedness and bliss,
But did he think he didn’t need the Lord to keep him strong,
That on his own he wouldn’t do the slightest bit of wrong?
Well possibly…for when his wife had bitten, chewed and swallowed,
She handed him a piece and, in a moment, Adam followed!

Twas Adam, then, on Eden’s walk who ate the banned cuisine,
And in his heart began a horrid journey unforeseen,
His soul – it hurtled down a hill inside him to the fray,
And went a dozen yards and bolted dirtily away.
It left the track and took him on a blinding terrored streak,
And whistled down the awful slope and stopped in Dead Man’s Creek.

Twas Adam then, with quite a squawk, who tumbled thus from grace,
And brought the Lord’s displeasure on the human being race,
For though his soul was dead in sin, it lived to make a kid,
And carry on a nature to approve of what he did.
And Adam and his wife began to fight and yell and squabble,
And blame each other often for that first regretful gobble.
And no one ever since has been as good as in the ‘ginning,
For all of us, but one, have been a-constant-ally sinning.

But still the Lord was ready with some mercy for the strife:
He went to tell the couple of a coming human life:
A powerful descendant to assume the fallen flesh,
And crush the crafty serpent and restore the race afresh.
And so the awful consequence of sin began abating,
And with a sigh of thankfulness, a people started waiting…


“Waltzing Matilda”

January 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents…for he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”  Hebrews 11:9-10

Once a jolly Abraham camped down in Hebron,
Close to the shade of the great Mamre trees.
And he sang as he watched and listened to his billy boil:
“Who’ll come a waiting for someone with me?”

“Waiting for someone, waiting for someone,
Who’ll come a waiting for someone with me?”
And he sang as he watched and listened to his billy boil:
“Who’ll come a waiting for someone with me?”

Well Abraham had earlier been living in a country house,
The Lord however took him to some other territ’ry.
He said “Abram, I promise I will give you a descendant,
And I’ll bless him, ‘cos I’ll give him all the land that you can see.”

Well Abraham was doubtful that this blessed one could really come
From someone as old and decrepit as he.
But he figured that the Lord could do just anything he wanted to
And so after a bit of to-and-froing, he believed.

“Descendants! Descendants! At last some descendants!
And one special kiddie particularly.”
And he sang as he looked at the enormous bit of country
“Who’ll come a waiting for someone with me?”

Well Abraham he settled there, perhaps by a billabong,
But he settled in manner kind of temporary.
He decided he would shelter in a rough and ready camping tent,
And so a sort of swagman from then he would be.

“A camping! A camping! Who’ll come a camping?
Who’ll come a camping and waiting with me?”
And he sang as he looked at the extremely big locality,
Who’ll come a camping and waiting with me?

Once a jolly swagman, then, camped in a promised land,
Trusting in the Lord as he made a cup of tea.
And he sang as he wondered when the promised son would happ’ly come
Receiving all his territory permanently.

Waiting for someone, waiting for someone,
Waiting for the end of the era BC.
And he sang as he watched and listened to his billy boil:
“Who’ll come a waiting for someone with me?”


“Clancy of the Overflow”

January 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

“As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Then the LORD said to him, ‘Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and they will come out with great possessions…And in the fourth generation your descendants will come back here.'”  Genesis 15:11

He had written them a letter which he had upon his better knowledge
Chiseled with his finger on some very heavy stone.
They were loyal when he knew them so perhaps he sent it to them with an
Introduction saying: “To a people all my own”.

“Now you know that I have saved you from a nation that enslaved you:
You were living down in Egypt and were getting very low.
So I put some simple posers through my humble servant Moses to the
King along the lines of ‘would you let my people go?'”

“But the King was quite resistant so I had to be persistent with some
Methods only those of us divine have ever used.
It was wonder and disaster til your very stubborn master came at
Last to say (exasperated) ‘People you’re excused!'”

“Then I parted up the ocean with a stiff and breezy motion to en-
able you to leave the place for good, and with a cheer.
And I led you in a fire (til the sun was getting higher) and I
Led you in a cloud until you came at last to here.”

“And a place for some reviving, not to mention happy thriving,
Lies a little further on and we can go there in a trice.
But this high and rocky mountain with its running water fountain
Seems an excellent location for a bit of stern advice.”

“Now you know that I am holy and I’m also meek and lowly,
Well I’ve chosen to reside among you – right within your view.
But you’ll only be my treasures if you follow all the measures I have
Fashioned for the purpose that you all be holy too.”

“So I’ve written ten instructions with some obvious constructions, and I’ve
Put them on some tablets so you have them ever near.
And my very strong advising is you all be memorizing them un-
Til they’re well cemented in the spot from ear to ear.”

All of this the Lord unending may have added to his sending of his
Letter with its regulations, rules, and caveats.
Prob’ly different in expression but a similar impression to the
Record in the Bible of his mountaineering chats.

And the laws he legislated for the nation he created could be
Summarized as follows “Love the Lord with all your heart,
And you need to love the fellas in your neighbourhood as well as all the
Women and the children: every human counterpart.”

Now the things he was commanding you would think were quite demanding, after
All the Lord is perfect and he wished them be the same.
But he knew that they were wayward and without assistance they would do what-
ever came a-naturally and put themselves to shame.

So he made them special offers from the never-ending coffers of his
Mercy – he would give them second natures to obey.
With a broken-hearted pleading they would find what they were needing & would
Suddenly be wanting to be sticking to the way.

And he had another blessing for the willingly confessing – he would
Pardon them a temporary punishment of sin.
With a solemn sacrificing of some animals sufficing, they could
Stay a little longer at the Lord Almighty’s inn.

Now the matters more eternal would remain inside his journal but the
Promised land was waiting so he told them to proceed.
With the “letter” in their keeping and the little kiddies leaping they be-
gan the winding journey to wherever he would lead.

“The Man from Ironbark”

January 30, 2011 § 2 Comments

“Moses summoned all Israel and said…’You will settle in the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, and he will give you rest from all your enemies around you so that you will live in safety'”  Deuteronomy 12:10

It was a very hairy man who struck a certain town,
And stumbled on a leery plan to bed and settle down.
He wandered here and wandered there, until a true beguiler
Enticed him with her looks and flair – a woman named Delilah.
The union, though, was fateful for our Samson and his mop,
For soon the lass would launch a store – a sort of barber’s shop.

Well Samson was a man of might – the strongest human ever,
With strength akin to dynamite and gelignite together.
He was the Living Lord’s design to save His populi,
From horrid things their Philistine oppressors used to try.
In fact it’s said that once he warded off a thousand crims
With just a bone, and what the Lord’d put into his limbs.

Delilah, though, was fair and flash, as tempters mostly are,
She wore a strike-your-fancy sash; and loved a verbal spar.
She was a humorist of note and keen at repartee,
She honed the art of self-promoting: “Me,” she said “for Me!”
But here’s the thing, of all, that touches most upon our wagging –
She loved her money very much, and sure was good at nagging.

So when the dreaded enemy approached her in frustration
And offered her a hefty fee for certain information
About her strong beloved and his energy and muscle,
She took to seek the grubby grand, and started up the tussle.
“I have a question, dear, I do, I hope it isn’t rude,
But how could one as strong as you be tethered and subdued?”

Well Samson, so it seemed, was fine and willing to be tied –
He said “My darling, use some twine that hasn’t fully dried.”
The Philistines in turn provided seven bits of string,
And lay in wait as Lilah glided in to do the thing.
But when she called the plotters out to catch her wily double,
He tossed away the string without the slightest bit of trouble!

He later told her “Use my scruffin’, fluffin’ hair for weaving,
And see the rough and tough and puffin’ power in me leaving.”
She probably felt the time was right to give his hair a groom,
And gladly strung it extra tight across her weaving loom.
But when he felt his shaggy head connected to some cloth,
He pulled apart the pin and thread, and flung the fabric off.

Another try, another fail, but ‘Lilah was progressing –
You’ll notice there her maiden sale in hair and whisker dressing.
And so she let her lasso fly towards a final ropin’ –
For speaking metaphoric-lie, her barber’s shop was open!
She simply had to get the gent – her patron number one –
To answer her equivalent to “How’d you like it done?”

“I beg you, dear, to tell me how you’re stronger than a lion.”
But Samson gave her nothin’ now – a-nothin’ was he buyin’.
Delilah, though, she nagged and nagged and nagged and nagged again,
As if she’d caught a cat and dragged it screaming through his brain,
At last her partner, worn and fraught, and sick to death of chidings –
As good as said “I’ll have it short around the back and sidings!”

Delilah gave her friends a wink, a dexter eyelid shut –
“We’ve only got to give, I think, his bloomin’ hair a cut!”
They hurried in to lend a hand, and brought the promised cash,
And gave the strong ‘un’s every strand a cold and ruthless slash.
And as they did the quick and shoddy, maladjusted shearing,
The strength inside our Samson’s body did a disappearing.

His hairiness had been the source of all his punch and vigour,
For with it came the blessed force of someone vastly bigger.
The Lord, in fact, had told his Mum and Dad at his conception,
To raise the little chum to be badly-groomed exception.
And if a razor never saw the skin upon his cranium,
He’d always have an inward braun of reinforced titanium.

But now the Phillies hauled him off for dark incarcerating,
And with a condescending scoff began the celebrating.
They merried by the thousand in the temple of an idol,
Til Samson, from the wretched din, was going suicidal.
But then they made an error, for they brought him in to mock ‘im,
Which gave the wounded warrior another chance to sock ‘em!

He asked the Lord to give him just a final little filler
Of power – then he yelled and thrust his hand against a pillar.
He pushed it down – another too – and made the hall collapse,
And almost, in a day, removed all Philly from the maps.
And so the Lord had used a bloke who wasn’t too finessed,
To foil a foe and fix his folk a phase of fearless rest.

“Been there before”

January 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

“Now Jesse said to his son… ‘Take this Ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp…They are with…all the men of Israel in the valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines.’” 1 Samuel 17:17-19

There came a youngster to Elah’s mound,
To Elah’s mound when the sun was low,
And he carried supplies to help the crown
In a looming war with a bitter foe.|
But the lad would take the rivals down –
Those godless rivals on Elah’s mound.

A giant – Goliath – was on the banks,
On Elah’s banks, when the talk was high.
He taunted the men of Israel’s ranks
To send a soldier out to try
And battle him down to the stony ground –
The stony gravel of Elah’s mound.

Well they saw the giant from head to heel
Was nine feet tall, and he carried a spear,
And a soldier ahead of him bore a shield,  
And neither revealed any hint of fear.
And the Jewish hearts began to pound
With terror wide on Elah’s mound.

Goliath laughed at their hopes o’erthrown,
But the boy advanced like a warrior King.
Then out of his pouch he fetched a stone,
And felled him dead with a perfect sling.
He’d trusted God to bring him down –
The God who reigned on Elah’s mound.