Bordeaux Bay

Bordeaux Bay
Bordeaux Bay by Guernsey-based artist Tony Taylor

Sunday, 29 March 2015


As a youngster growing up in the Nineteen Fifties, I wanted to be Stanley Matthews or, failing that, John Wayne.
Since I wasn’t particularly adept at football, I usually settled for John Wayne.
Aged eight or nine, I’d go to the Saturday Matinees at the Astoria Picture House and the following morning to Sunday School. I can’t pretend that I attended both with quite the same enthusiasm.
Back in those days, the staple cinematic fare for boys was Westerns, those gripping sagas of Cowboys killing Indians, as Native Americans were referred to back then. 

Very often Westerns took the form of serials, with episodes shown week after week, each ending in a cliff-hanger with the hero in seemingly inescapable jeopardy.
Inevitably, he would survive, to return, unscathed, the following week.  
At cinemas from Ballyhackamore to Ballinderry, nobody slaughtered “injuns” quite as efficiently as big John Wayne and, although nowadays, I deplore the bloody genocide at the heart of American history, I still enjoy a good Western.
Most of us like to compile lists and tables of our favourite books, films and music.
My list of top ten Westerns would certainly include High Noon, a masterpiece directed by Fred Zinneman and starring Gary Cooper as the noble lawman facing what seemed to be impossible odds.
That rousing tale, together with the stories I learned at Sunday School, triggered the following poem.





A man rides into town.

He’s a good man and this used to be a good town
but the bad guys have taken over and the townsfolk are weak
so it’s a bad town now with bad problems.

The rider will change things.  Valiantly, he’ll make a stand
against hopeless odds.  He’ll confront the bad guys,
inspire loyalty, teach the timid townsfolk to confront evil.

Remember, of course, that the odds were hopeless,
so the bad guys win in the end and the rider dies
alone in the sun, as the townsfolk look on, helpless.

But his death’s not till the final reel.  Right now,
he rides into town on a swaying donkey
while cheering townsfolk cast palm-fronds at his feet.

  Inevitably, he would survive, to return, unscathed, the following week.  

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