“The Man from Snowy River”
January 30, 2011 § 2 Comments
“For the Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost.” Luke 19:10
There was movement in the heavens for the word had passed around,
That overnight the Son of God had got away,
And then had joined the wildest mob that ever ran upon the ground –
A race of creatures fierce and feral, scorned and stray.
For he had taken on a body in a human mother’s frame,
And so the angels gathered, readied for the fight,
For any cherub loves adventure where redemption is the aim,
And all the seraphs snuff the battle with delight.
There was the Father, God Almighty, who it seemed had made a plan
For the manoeuvre many centuries ago,
For he was briefing all his minions that this little Son of Man
Would bring an end to the rebellion down below.
And then the Spirit of the overflow, the Holy number three,
Was there to muster all his power in the lead,
For with the Father and the Son he was the Lord – the Trinity,
And it was up to them to make the plan succeed.
“Now there’s a little while to wait”, the Father said in measured tone,
“For he’ll be in his mother Mary longer yet.”
“However Joseph, her fiancé, needs a briefing of his own,
For when he notices he could be quite upset.”
And so an angel known as Clancy went to make the matter mild,
And as he left the Father wore a tender grin –
He added “Clancy, tell him ‘Jesus’ is the name to give the child,
For he’ll be rescuing a people from their sin”.
And so he went; they next assembled forty weeks or so from then,
When Mary saddled up her small and weedy beast.
It had a touch of Timor donkey; three parts thoroughbred of ten –
A hard and tough and wiry burro of the east.
And it would carry her to Bethlehem with Joseph at her side,
And it was there the Saviour joined the atmosphere,
And in the firmament above, the gathered heavenlies applied
their very all to give a hale and hearty cheer.
But it was on! Another monarch of the twisted, jealous kind,
Was told a rival King had entered his domain,
And he would send a pack of soldiers with commissioning to find
the boy, and kill him lest he ever come to reign.
And so the Father shouted “Quick, I need a lightning volunteer
To say to Joseph ‘take the promised one and run!’”
And in a moment cherub Clancy made his way to reappear,
And off they went; and so the battle had begun.
But then the enemy would wait in silent stealth for many years,
Until a better time for Jesus to begin
His long and lonesome undertaking, full of sweat and blood and tears,
To find the lost, and round ‘em up, and bring ‘em in.
And so the Spirit went to help him – he descended like a dove
Upon the lad as he was baptized in a stream,
And then the Father urged him on, he bellowed “Here’s the Son I love,”
And then with that, the Devil tried his second scheme.
Well he approached him in his weakness as he hungered from a fast,
And made a ploy to knock him off the narrow way.
He offered Jesus every kingdom with their lands and splendours vast,
If he would fall before him, worship him and pray.
But then the Spirit gave him strength, and he resisted with the word –
He said “It’s written ‘Worship God, and him alone.’”
And after trying once again the Devil left him, and a herd
Of helping angels came to make their comforts known.
And so the Son began his muster, he went at them from the jump,
And called the rebels to approach him and believe,
And with the Holy Spirit’s help he rounded up a little clump
Of keen disciples – young and curious, naive.
But still the mob was running wilder – it ignored him with delight,
And fled their maker to a paddock far away.
And though he showed them who he was with many miracles of might,
They kept a-sinning in their rough and frenzied play.
And then he lost them for a moment til he saw a distant peak,
And went to preach a certain sermon on that mount.
For they were moving very near it and would quickly hear him speak
To his disciples with a fiercely strong account
Of all the pleasures of obedience to heaven’s perfect law –
And if they liked it, well he’d rope ‘em boldly in!
And so he headed to the mount with his enthusiastic corps,
And stood upon it, in the Spirit, to begin.
Well as he spoke – the pack – it halted, in amazement at the sound,
And in a restless mood began a fast ascent,
For Jesus taught with an authority and wisdom to astound,
And so towards the lofty pinnacle they went.
With every new and old commandment they were moving to a light
Of generosity, of faithfulness and care –
Of giving enemies a meal instead of giving them a bite;
Of being undercover operatives in prayer.
And ever upward, surely upward, did the helpless people tread,
Until it seemed the rounding up was almost done.
For they were tending every word the Kosciusko builder said,
And moving onward, ever onward to the Son.
But at the mountaintop – alas! – it seemed they counted up his threat
To their beloved way of darkness still in view.
And then without another thought, without a pause for old regret,
They gathered pace and down the other side they flew!
Well when he saw where they had headed, even Jesus took a pull,
It was a sight to make the boldest hold their breath.
For there was punishment enough to render hell forever full
Of condemnation, in his settled rage, and death.
But he had ever seen it coming, he had known the human heart,
And with an anguish only deity could know,
Prepared to drink the bitter cup they were deserving from the start,
And with a cry took off to follow them below.
And so he trailed them down the mountain like a torrent down its bed,
And went to meet them at a dry and dusty station.
For he had seen a look of hatred in them burst and rush ahead,
As they had passed him on that mountainous location.
And he had known the one condition for a sinful soul to live,
And so he cast his every guard and watch aside,
And threw himself upon the vicious crowd, with longing to forgive,
And in the dust was beaten, hung, and crucified.
And as he perished on the beams he drank the Father’s fury up,
And made a way for him to crown them all with grace,
For he would win a sure and everlasting pardon with the cup
Of tribulation he was taking in their place.
And yet the muster wasn’t finished for the pack was running still –
When they had murdered him they hastened off to flee.
And all the Trinity decided they would never rest until
A mass of Christians gathered round a throne with glee.
But still of course there was one resting – he was resting in a grave –
The Son of God – the finest stockman of them all.
And if he didn’t perk up quickly they could never hope to save
The mob the terrors of the shadows soon to fall.
And so the Spirit went to help him to the Father’s saving arm,
And in a miracle to make the ranges ring,
Applied his power to the body like a soothing, healing balm,
And in a moment lifted up a risen King!
So it was on again – the King – he went to muster from a height,
And though they ran as hard as ever in their fear,
He had a resurrection power now to wheel them to the light,
And so he eased his riding up and took the rear.
And then he called them – simply called them – with a message of relief,
And when the Spirit rode to show them it was true,
A mighty number heard the warning, and were filled with trusting grief,
And in remorse began to call upon him too.
And in an instant Jesus answered every soul that raised a cry –
He sent a free and gracious pardon from above,
And put his Spirit deep inside their hearts to dwell and purify,
And change their hateful inclinations into love.
And it was grand to see him do it, for his only trick was grace –
He didn’t need a stockwhip now to give a crack,
Because he gathered them in eagerness to see the Father’s face,
And in the Spirit brought them trotting gladly back.
And in the coming new creation, where the city walls shall raise
Their ever clear and jasper battlements on high,
And where the air will be as crystal, and the Trinity shall blaze
Upon their throne beneath the warm and tender sky,
And where beside the river’s overflow, the tree of life will sway
to all the breezes, and the streets will venture wide,
A risen Saviour known as Jesus will be worshipped every day,
And all the clan will tell the story of his ride.
[…] results are brilliant. Some pieces are thoroughly chuckle-inducing, while this sustained gospel tale is especially […]
This poem aims to summarize the whole New Testament. The narrative is drawn from Matthew 1:18-25, 2:1-18, 3:16-17, 4:1-25, 5:1-10, 5:43-47, 6:5-6, 7:28-29, 21:1-11, 26:1-5, 27:11-61, 28:1-10, Acts 1:1-10, 2:1-41, and Revelation 22:1-5. The image of people climbing up a hill towards Jesus but then running down the other side is a metaphor for the general reaction to Jesus among his own people of the time. Some of the details in verses 3-5 of the poem are imagined, for example the quotations, the description of the donkey, and the name of the angel.