Ned Kelly's Tulip

by Graham Rowlands

Graham Rowlands

An incredible script.
Not just the armour
making him into a walking chimney
after a bushfire through the old weatherboards.
Not the row with the judge over who
would see whom in St. Peter's
homestead. Or the urgency of a verdict
before the Melbourne Cup.

The start of the hanging
before the trial & during the trial
the stakeouts, the shootouts in living colour
not on Ned's word, he didn't
put in a word in his own defence,
the director's, the producer's
the actor's word?---a face
more famous than Ned himself

or the narrator's?---the male model
who jumps into the nineteenth century courtroom
in his twentieth century wardrobe & browbeats
the judge for censoring Ned's letter,
apologizing to the young counsel
while implying it's Ned's
neck not his
even if he's
doing his

At least it's ocker, stroppy, Australian;
all those references to
the Wombat Ranges.

On his way to standing erect in mid-air
the crim, the crook, the gangster
Edward Kelly takes a look at a tulip.
His last. Also his first? Who knows?
A cliche, says the critic juryman.
So it has come to this.

Good on yer, Ned.

Last updated September 18, 2022