The Ballad of the Kon-Tiki and other verses, by Ian Serraillier
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The Ballad of the Kon-Tiki is a long narrative poem describing the 1947 Kon-Tiki expedition, in which 6 men travelled across the South Pacific, from Peru to Polynesia, on a balsa-wood raft.
It recounts the perils they faced; an encounter with a whale shark, a man overboard and the crash-landing on the Raroia reef at journey’s end which reduced the raft to wreckage - “the cabin battered, a house of cards collapsed on deck; the helm in splinters, and the steering block a mangled crock …”.
The Ballad of the Kon-Tiki takes up about half of this volume. The rest consists of a number of other poems, including The Weaver Birds, a fable about a bird who rescues his mate from trouble, and The Bishop and the Devil, a comedic poem in which a medieval French bishop uses the devil’s cunning against him.
Ian Serraillier (1912 – 1994) was an English novelist and poet. He retold legends from England, Greece and Rome and was best known for his children's books.