Saturday, 11 August 2007

The Remittance Man

For a change let me write about the "Remittance Man" triggered by the book of the same title.

Nowadays we associate Remittances as the money sent home by migrants - the modern heroes - to their families back home. The new book I just read "The Remittance Man" by Michael Worsnip informed me that the word "remittance man" has been widely used in the 19th century referring an exile living on money sent from home. Remittance Man, a term once widely used, especially in the West before WWI, for an immigrant living in Canada on funds remitted by his family in England, usually to ensure that he would not return home and become a source of embarrassment.

EAN : 9781869141158300 pages
Publisher : University of KwaZulu-Natal Press
Country of publication: South Africa
Author: Michael Worsnip

It is a must read book and I encourage everyone to get a copy and read it.

However time has changed. The modern "Remittance Man" is the one sending money home. He breaks his back to earn a living to support his loved ones and more. No they will not understand the Remittance Man.

More search on the internet, I found two following poems about "remittance man":

The Remittance Man
By Jimmy Buffett

Sinner on the mainland
He's a sinner on the sea
He looks for absolution
Not accountability
How many destinations
Oh God he's seen them all
He collects his precious pittance
Never a port of call

Remittance Man
Blacksheep of the family clan
Broke too many rules along the way
Remittance Man
So far away from home
No they'll never understand
The Remittance Man

A man of empty pockets
From jingling his change
The idleness and grieving
For all that he retains
By the harbour lights of Sydney
Or the Bora Bora moon
He recites his sad confession
To the seagulls and the loons

Remittance Man
Blacksheep of the family clan
Broke too many rules along the way
Remittance Man
So far away from home
No they'll never understand
The Remittance Man
Well you can claim that you were born a prince
But you're the only one you can convince
Survivor with no livelihood
That you could ever make it good
But still you dream of what you can pretend

An unexpected passenger
Boarded in MarseillesAn angel full of tenderness
She gave her heart away
She was but a gypsy
He was just a stray
They almost made a miracle but it slowly slipped away
So he follows the equator
With a wish to run aground
It's a very vicious circle
Goin' round and round and round
And he watches from the fantail
As the mainland disappears
Just like the Flying Dutchman
He's a prisoner of his fears

Remittance Man
Blacksheep of the family clan
Broke too many rules along the way
Remittance Man
So far away from home
No they'll never understand
No they'll never understand
No they'll never understand
The Remittance Man.

The Rhyme of the Remittance Man

There's a four-pronged buck
In the shadow of my cabin,
And it roamed the velvet valley till to-day;
But I tracked it by the river,
And I trailed it in the cover,
And I killed it on the mountain miles away.

Now I've had my lazy supper,
And the level sun is gleaming
On the water where the silver salmon play;
And I light my little corn-cob,
And I linger, softly dreaming,
In the twilight, of a land that's far away.

Far away, so faint and far,
Is flaming London, fevered Paris,
That I fancy I have gained another star;
Far away the din and hurry,Far away the sin and worry,
Far away — God knows they cannot be too far.

Gilded galley-slaves of Mammon —
How my purse-proud brothers taunt me!
I might have been as well-to-do as they
Had I clutched like them my chances,
Learned their wisdom, crushed my fancies,
Starved my soul and gone to business every day.

Well, the cherry bends with blossom
And the vivid grass is springing,
And the star-like lily nestles in the green;
And the frogs their joys are singing,
And my heart in tune is ringing,
And it doesn't matter what I might have been.

While above the scented pine-gloom,
Piling heights of golden glory,
The sun-god paints his canvas in the west,
I can couch me deep in clover,
I can listen to the story
Of the lazy, lapping water — it is best.

While the trout leaps in the river,
And the blue grouse thrills the cover,
And the frozen snow betrays the panther's track,
And the robin greets the dayspring
With the rapture of a lover,
I am happy, and I'll nevermore go back.

For I know I'd just be longing
For the little old log cabin,
With the morning-glory clinging to the door,
Till I loathed the city places,
Cursed the care on all the faces,
Turned my back on lazar London evermore.

So send me far from Lombard Street,
And write me down a failure;
Put a little in my purse and leave me free.
Say: "He turned from Fortune's offering
To follow up a pale lure,
He is one of us no longer — let him be.
"I am one of you no longer;
By the trails my feet have broken,
The dizzy peaks I've scaled, the camp-fire's glow;
By the lonely seas I've sailed in —
Yea, the final word is spoken,
I am signed and sealed to nature.
Be it so.
-- Robert W. Service

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