Long ago, there was a bird who sang just once in its life. From the moment it left its nest, it searched for a thorn tree. And it never rested until it found one. Then it began to sing more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. And singing, it impaled its breast on the longest, sharpest thorn. But as it was dying, it rose above its own agony to out-sing the lark and the nightingale. The thorn bird pays its life for that one song and the whole world stills to listen and God, in His heaven ~smiles. As its best was bought only at the cost of great pain. Driven to the thorn, with no knowledge of the dying to come. But when we press the thorn to our breast,
This story is so bittersweet! But ... isn't that the way of life?
I was only 15 or 16 when I read it first, one of my best favourites of all time. I was the perfect victim, since like all teenagers in the history of humankind, I was experiencing the "sling and arrows" of unrequited love. So that became for me one of those books you’ll never forget and always compare to others. The Thorn Birds, (1977) by Australian writer Coleen McCullough , was a miracle to my teenage thirst for passionate stories. Maybe , I was too young for explicit sex scenes or for that terribly sad , unattainable love, but looking back, I'm happy I was that free to read how much and what I chose. My parents worked long hours and I was brought up by my lovely grandparents . I read so many books at the time, always longing for new words , feelings, stories and knowledge.
I read it in Italian, of course, Uccelli di rovo. The Thorn Birds. I was so touched and impressed by the title image, so tragic and lyrical at the same time (see the opening quotation above) and that is just what has remained in my heart and mind all this time: the thorn birds' story , all the suffering which passionate love can bring with itself.
Love between mothers and children, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, a man and a woman ... all these relationships are doomed, haunted by suffering , as if a person ought to pay with pain and sorrow as a compensation for love and happiness. At least, in this novel, that is what happens.
|Meggie Cleary (Rachel Ward)|
I've received The Thorn Birds DVD, in the original English version, last Christmas as a gift from a nice friend, who loves period drama and movies as much as I do. However, only this last weekend I made up my mind and felt ready to rewatch this gripping family saga dating back to the 1980s and based on a book from the 70s. Nostalgia, melancholic mood, tissues at hand. I didn't remember how beautiful this story was. Actually, I had forgot much!
I saw all the episodes back to back: afternoon, evening, part of the night. I couldn't stop. All those thrilling memories!
By the way, I fell in love with Australia , more than with Father Ralph , while reading or watching. And I dreamed of moving there ( since I already wanted to learn English at the time). I used to ask my granny (yes, my granny, not my mother) "Will you come with me? Would you like to live in a farm with me?" I was serious, mind. Not joking at all. And I went on dreaming of going to Australia for years.
Still dreaming though. Never been to the South of the world.
|Father Ralph de Bricassart (Richard Chamberlain)|