Welcome to a brand new entry to our Mark Steyn Club anthology of video poetry. Because, as I always say, video poetry is where the big bucks are.
After this weekend’s Passing Parade episode on Tupac, we’re proud to present a hip hopper of an entirely different kind:
Thou Spirit of Australia,
That redeems from utter failure…
“The Kangaroo” was the first poem ever published in Australia. And, if you think Australian poetry is a barren field, it was in fact a Barron Field. That’s the name of the fellow who wrote it: He was the judge of the Supreme Court of Civil Judicature in New South Wales. It was published by George Howe, whom one of Mr Justice Field’s fellow jurists back in London had sentenced to life in the penal colony, which is how he was able to turn his life around (as they say of the “aspiring rappers” who turn up deceased on America’s local news shows) and become a publisher of poetry. To watch The Kangaroo, prefaced by my introduction, please click here and log-in.
Barron Field later became judge of the Court of Civil Pleas in Gibraltar, where a young Disraeli met him and did not care for his company:
I found him a bore, and vulgar, a Storks without breeding, consequently I gave him a lecture on canes, which made him stare, and he has avoided me ever since… The noisy, obtrusive, jargonic judge, who is a true lawyer, ever illustrating the obvious, explaining the evident, and expatiating on the common-place.
Oh, well. I’d like to see Disraeli write a poem about a kangaroo.
If you’d like to catch up on earlier poems in the series, you can find them on our Sunday Poems home page. As with Tales for Our Time and our music specials and The Mark Steyn Show, we’re archiving my video poetry in an easy-to-access Netflix-style tile format that we hope makes it the work of moments to prowl around and alight on something that piques your interest of a weekend, whether Kipling or Keats. One other bonus of Steyn Club membership is that you can enjoy much of our content in whichever is your preferred form – video, audio, text. So, if you’d rather hear me read The Kangaroo off-camera, please click here.
Steyn’s Sunday Poem is a special production for The Mark Steyn Club. We launched the Steyn Club four years ago, and as we launch our fifth birthday I’m immensely heartened by all the longtime SteynOnline regulars – from Fargo to Fiji, Madrid to Malaysia, West Virginia to Witless Bay – who’ve signed up to be a part of it. Membership in The Mark Steyn Club also comes with non-poetic benefits, including:
~Our latest audio adventure in Tales for Our Time, and its four-dozen thrilling predecessors;
~Other audio series on pertinent topics, such as our 2019 serialization of Climate Change: The Facts and our current adaptation of Mark Steyn’s Passing Parade;
~Exclusive Steyn Store member pricing on over 40 books, mugs, T-shirts, and other products;
~The opportunity to engage in live Clubland Q&A sessions with yours truly (such as this coming Thursday’s);
~Transcript and audio versions of Mark’s Mailbox, The Mark Steyn Show, and other video content, including today’s poem;
~Advance booking for my live appearances around the world, including exclusive members-only events such as The Mark Steyn Christmas Show, assuming such events are ever again lawfully permitted;
~Customized email alerts for new content in your areas of interest;
~The opportunity to join me and my guests on our annual Mark Steyn Cruise;
~and the chance to support our print, audio and video ventures as they wing their way around the planet.
One other benefit to Club Membership is our Comment Club privileges. So, if you feel about this poem the way Disraeli felt about its author, then give it your best below. Please do stay on topic on all our comment threads, because that’s the way to keep them focused and readable. With that caution, have at it (in verse, if you wish).