Sitting on the Fence

The  story of how Michael Luenig stopped drawing political cartoons and doing the work for which he is now famous is an act of creative rebellion which appeals to me:

One Saturday morning in 1969, struggling towards a deadline and trying to draw a cartoon about the Vietname war, a strange thing happened to me. In an act of merry insolence; as a small rebellion against deadlines, punchlines and politics I sidestepped my obligations and the grave topic in hand and drew what I thought was an absurd, irresponsible triviality. Tempting fate, I presented it to the editor for publication.

It showed a man riding towards the sunset on a large duck. On his head he wore a teapot. Not a ‘proper’ cartoon by conventional standards, quite loopy in fact, but a joyous image nevertheless.

The editor told me he didn’t know what it meant but laughed, shook his head and published it. I suspect that deep down, to my good fortune, he understood.

I don’t know if deep down I always understand, but even if I don’t, I laugh and contemplate and enjoy Leunig’s words and pictures.

This Friday’s poem comes from his collection, Poems 1972 – 2002, published by Viking.

Sitting on the Fence


Come sit down beside me


I said to myself,


And although it doesn’t make sense,


I held my own hand


As a small sign of trust


And together I sat on the fence.

  – Michael Leunig –

2 Responses to Sitting on the Fence

  1. ZenTiger says:

    Brilliant. What a great story.

    Although, when a cartoonist says “when a strange thing happened to me” I always thought that would be a daily occurrence with a mind like that.

  2. ZenTiger says:

    Oh, I forgot to say that I think the poem rounded that story off just perfectly.

Leave a Reply

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

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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

%d bloggers like this: