Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A Little Duck at the Commonwealth Games

from Wendy

A focus of the entertainment for the Opening of the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne was a small twelve-year-old boy and his pet duck, based on a poem by a Melbourne cartoonist, poet, anti-war philosopher.

A Little Duck

with a bit of luck
a duck
will come into your life
when you are not at the peak
of your great powers.
and your achievement towers
like a smoking chimney stack.
There'll be a quack
and right there at your feet
a little duck will stand.
She will take you be the hand
and lead you
like a child with no defence;
she will lead you
into wisdom, joy and innocence.
That little duck
we wish you luck.

by Michael Leunig

Perhaps some of the thousands of spectators, particularly athletes from other countries would have been puzzled by the fantasy based on the little duck, but it is an iconic feature of Michael's cartoons, to focus on innocence, fun, spirit of goodness. Michael explained that when he was 10 he was at the Melboune Olympics in 1956, a time of the cold war, a fear of Russia, Russian tanks were in the streets of Budapest. In the 10,000 metre race a Russian surged ahead and the crowd, normally in fear of anything Russian, suddenly cheered him on, politics forgotten. That is a 'duck' moment, the cartoonist said.
Pity that the rest of the spectacle was a bit over the top, rather than to be as simple as an ordinary duck!

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