A Thousand and One Arabian Nights

This poem adds little to the charm of the 23rd Psalm, by adapting the words to the story of Joshua Connor’s presence in his son Arthur’s thoughts during their separation, in the war film The Water Diviner, written for and directed by Russell Crowe. (Now’s your chance to vote for Russell Crowe and The Water Diviner in the AACTA Audience Choice Awards!)

If you haven’t seen it: the way the film tells the story of this connection, we meet Joshua completing a hard day’s work and coming home to read his absent sons a bedtime story from A Thousand and One Arabian Nights, to comfort his distraught wife, who hasn’t accepted the news that all three boys were killed – on the same day – in the famous battle of Gallipoli.

This children’s book will reappear more than once as the story of their father’s search for peace unfolds, in an epic adventure that is also a love story, in the sense that all songs, as Russell Crowe often tells us, are actually love songs.

Again, if you haven’t seen the movie yet, this poem comes with a spoiler alert.

Though loss holds me back, your love is my shepherd,
in echoing silences, I shall not want.
In rocky pastures I follow, unerring,
by quiet signs led to the welling waters.
My life hung about me like dust and soot – then,
love led me back by unfamiliar alleys,
into a sanctity I struggled to trust.
When we laid past the trenches, in no-man’s-land,
for myself and my brothers I feared no harm,
for your love abides with us in everything.
Your marvellous welter of magical tales –
it was these memories we called up, in need.
You set out a moveable feast within us,
we smiled, slapped our backs, in the face of our foes.
Your hand on my back restores a spent courage
in me that had flowed out in shame and remorse.
Where can’t your magic carpet pursue me, if
all the days of my life, you are constant, here?
We two can go together, father and son,
for many long days our roads will not yet part.

Leave a comment

Filed under Acting, Directing, Music, Poetry, Roll Credits, The Water Diviner

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s