Alister came up and showed me a write-up by one of the students in his Friday class. I read with some disbelief that a second language student in this school could come up with such creativity in her choice of words and ideas therefore it has compelled me to share her writing on this blog in the hope that it will inspire other students to do the same. Sometimes, we surprise ourselves by what we can do when we put our heart and soul into exploring and penning our thoughts.
The technique used in this lesson was to try to stimulate the student’s mind by the use of poetry, in this case “Clancy of the Overflow by Banjo Patterson.” Going through in detail and carefully explaining a poem can actually inspire students to write beyond the context of their lives and experiences. No doubt they will fall back on the ideas and words used in the poem, but they will also be learning how to write creatively by seeing how others have used the language.
INTERPRETATION OF ‘CLANCY OF THE OVERFLOW’
By: Nur Azmina bt Noordin ( unedited )
Elliot Thompson. That’s me. A single 29-year-old man who has chosen law as a profession and swore to defend my client whether they are innocent or guilty. Known when promenading in the public in suits which makes me look sharp and smart. Also, I own a small office in a department somewhere in this big city, New York. That is how it is like to be a lawyer.
It was 18th of July. My day went on as usual. Desk piled up with several files of cases to solve. Darkness surrounded my small office as a little ray of sunlight seemed to struggle through the window having been blocked by the massive height of buildings ruining the perfectly round sun. All of these things made me feel suffocated. My space to think became limited.
I had enough for today! I did not know but I was not in the mood to work and I decided to let boredom claim me. So, I checked my schedule for my appointment and I sighed in relief when I saw none.
“A little rest would not kill me,” I thought to myself.
I leaned back on my black chair which was made of fine leather, hoping to get some shut eye. As I closed my eyes, a memory of Clancy flashed into my mind. Clancy, a friend of mine from a little village somewhere in Australia which, I went to for vacation years ago.
I remember the flow of the Lachlan river and the greenness of wide fields filled with stock which I witnessed at our first meeting. He was shearing one of his jumbucks wool when I approached him. Curious on what he was doing, which looked rare to a city man like me, I got to know him and learned that he was a drover. I persuaded him to tell me the story of his life and he gladly agreed. So, he continued to talk with a glint of excitement in his eyes. I assumed life was a great enjoyment for him and I envied him for that because for me life was just a long period of hectic business.
These flashbacks of memories amused me and rose in me an urge to write a letter to him. So, I straightened myself up and immediately took a piece of paper out of the drawer. I wrote with full focus and left my work undone.
Unexpectedly, a reply came a few months later. It was a little difficult to read because the person who wrote this reply seemed to write using his thumbnail dipped in tar. It said, “Clancy’s gone to Queensland droving and we don’t know where he are.”
It was enough to make me understand that Clancy had been wandering again. How lucky he was! Then, I imagined myself being in Clancy’s place.
I had gone droving down the river where I could see other Western drovers and greeted them with small nods and a smile that graced my face. I trailed behind a stringing of stock while whistling my favorite tune. Having the pleasures of my life that the townsfolk would never understand.
Nature would greet me from every side, from the bushes which waved ‘hello’ and by the murmur of the breeze. I would see the splendid vision of the sunlit at daylight and the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars at night.
However, here I was. Stuck in my dingy little office in darkness. My sense of smell was heightened by the foetid air caused by the dusty and dirty city that spread into my window. Noises came uninvited to my ears. I could hear the fiendish rattle of the tramways and buses making hurry down the street. The unpleasant noises came from children fighting but all of that faded into the background sounds of footsteps created by the sea of people. These sounds echoed through my pair of ears.
I went towards my window and viewed the hectic surroundings outside my office. People walked hurriedly. Not caring whether they bumped into each other’s shoulders in their rush. Only eager eyes and greed are seen on their faces as city people like us knew there was no time to waste.
I compared the life presented in front of me with Clancy’s. How I wish I could swap with him even just for a day. I would face the beauty of nature with stock stringing ahead of me while he faced the round eternal of the cashbook and journal.
However, I doubt Clancy would suit the office. I chuckled.
Oh Clancy, my dear free friend. Clancy of the Overflow.