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About Mark Jarmon



A Man Called Banjo

When we were in school, they taught us the rules
Of how to be proper young men,
Which included the learning of that what’s concerning
Those gifted with power of pen.

But ‘twas no surprise to us the unwise
Those pages and pages of text,
Instead of enlightening were ever so frightening
And kept us poor youngsters perplexed.

So let me explain just what I retained
From those masters of poetic verse.
They may have been great, but to kiddies they ain’t
And to us only de-tention’s worse.

John Donne and his mourning were awfully boring
So’s Shelley and Gray and Raleigh.
I couldn’t stand Byron, (ok now I’m lyin’
I liked when he talked of the sea).

Keats and his jar were perplexing by far
(I mean what was the point of that one?)
I know what an urn is and what my concern is
Did Keats ever hear the word “fun"?

Tennyson was a bore, unless speaking of war
To the girls leave the flowers and such.
And I hate confess (bet you already guessed)
That I didn’t like Shakespeare that much.

And those poets you see, didn’t mean much to me
It was action and danger boys hoped for.
A poet who’d write splendid tales of delight
With a heart and a mind to explore.

In a place far from here, where they drink a tall beer
Comes a poet unlike any other,
And he sings of a land where a man is a man
And where horses hooves sound just like thunder.

The land is so wide that from every which side
An adventure will always be had,
Which I learned in a book that my father had took
From my dear old departed granddad.

His country he told was still new and not old
So the land it had much to explore,
And his heroes like Clancy would much rather fancy
Spending all of their lives out of doors.

And there’s polo club games and unusual names
Of the places he told all about,
The Australian ways and the Geebung boy graves
Were all cause for reason to shout.

To you teachers I preach, for the kiddies you teach
It is tales of adventure they crave.
And a man called Banjo is a poet who knows
Of a land that is fit for the brave.

© 2010, Mark Jarmon
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Mark comments: I teach poetry at an all-boys high school, which can sometimes be a daunting task to say the least!  In “A Man Called Banjo” I poke fun at the poets I teach, but also pay tribute to the style and vision of the great Australian cowboy poet, Banjo Paterson. We cover several of Paterson’s poems in class, and I like for my students to make connections between our romantic view of life in the West and Paterson’s view of his Australian homeland.   




About Mark Jarmon:

Mark Jarmon is a high school English teacher from New Jersey. While he is a Jersey Shore beach boy, he has a cowboy heart. Mark loves betting on “the ponies” at Monmouth Park Racetrack, is convinced Marty Robbins’ “Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs” is the greatest album ever recorded, and is proud that his school’s campus was once a horse farm (Go Colts!). Mark is married to his lovely wife Cathy.




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