By Ken Tucker
March 31, 2009 at 10:22 PM EDT

Word (in every sense) comes from The Guardian that Russell Crowe composed a poem to read at Sunday night’s EmpireFilm Awards ceremony. After receiving an “actor of our lifetime” award(!) (wouldn’t that describe any actor during our, ah, lifetime?), Crowewhipped out this bit of verse:

I am celebrating my love for you with a pint of beer and a new tattoo.

Imagine there’s no heaven.

Idon’t know if you’re loving somebody. To be a poet and not know thetrade, to be a lover and repel all women. Twin ironies by which greatsaints are made, the agonising pincer-jaws of heaven.

If you canwalk with crowds and keep your virtue, walk with kings but not lose thecommon touch, if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If allmen count with you, but none too much;

yours is the earth and everything that’s in it and what’s more, you’ll be a man.

It’s only words, and words are all I have, to take your breath away.

Hmm… (This is me back again, not Russell Crowe.) John Lennon,Kipling, and the Bee Gees as quotations; the you/tattoo rhyme, those “pincer-jaws of heaven”… It’s only words, and The Guardian wasn’t letting on whether they took the audience’s collective breath away.

Colleague Viggo Mortensen made reference to Crowe”s “unfathomableliteray aspirations.” Everyone’s a critic, right? But hey, if Michael Madsen can publish a book of poetry, who’s going to tell The 3:10 To Yuma Man not to write a bit of verse every once in a while?