Gregory North

Two Things
© Gregory North, 2005

T'was in the Southern Highlands that a truckie threw me out.
He pulled up sharp and shouted as his short arms flew about,
"You're full of it." he said to me, "Your yarns are total crap.
You need to check your history, the law books and a map!"
I frowned up through the cabin as my swag flew at my head.
The turbo whistle faded as I pondered what he'd said.

While plodding down the highway and recalling yarns I told,
the thought of legal matters and a growing sense of cold,
produced in me a brain-wave to kill two birds with one stone –
I'd call in on my lawyer mate – and jag a bed on loan!
He'd represented me in court and got me off scott-free.
His residential home was near – I'd be in time for tea!

He was surprised to see me and you should have seen his face,
but true to form was welcoming of all the human race.
He tried to make life better for most ev'ry soul he met,
dispensing words of wisdom, like this phrase I'll not forget:
"Two things profoundly influence your life until you're dead:
the books you meet, and folks you read", I'm sure that's what he said.

I'm getting good at reading folks – I read his wife real well.
She didn't want me in the house – said somethin' 'bout a smell.
He showed me to the lib'ry – somewhere his wife never goes.
I'd sure meet books in that place, there were rows and rows and rows!
He asked me nicely if I was in trouble with the law.
I said I hadn't been a public nuisance any more.

I told him 'bout the truckie then and why he'd thrown me out.
He laughed real hard and said this was the place to sort that out.
We did a little tour 'round the shelves and shelves of books,
"Well this is hist'ry, this is law," he'd tell just by their looks.
My old school mistress always said you can tell quite a lot
about a person and their life, just from the books they've got.

Well I could tell right straight away he wasn't short on dough
and showing off his shelves of books just set him all aglow.
He had some books from China, packed up neatly in a cube.
He said they read books backwards. I said, "What, they call them skoob?"
The tour then completed and he rustled up some food.
I heard it wasn't easy from his wife's loud shouting mood.

He let me roll my swag out on a squeaky leather couch –
so cosy by the fire, like a Joey in the pouch.
But sleep did not come easy for my mind in circles whirled.
That truckie had upset me with abuse that he had hurled.
I started meeting books then, as my lawyer mate would say,
about our hist'ry and this country's geographic lay.

I even tried the law books but they made no sense to me,
The same line read six times or more was still a mystery.
By morning I was ready to confront the road again.
No more would truckies criticise the workings of my brain!
I thanked my mate and headed off, my thumb extended proud
and soon was in a Kenworth, the exhaust stack belching loud.

I used my new-found knowledge to impress my truckie mate.
When I stepped out near Melbourne, well his words made me feel great.
"Goodonya mate, you've made time fly. With books you're quite the worm
My lawyer mate's phrase must be right, although it made me squirm:
‘Two things profoundly influence your life until you're dead:
the folks you meet and books you read', he's right in what he said."

Well blow me down, I bet his lawyer couldn't set him free,
He's got it back to front, and it sounds just like crap to me! 

< No Passion Back to See list of poems The Mighty Illawarra >
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© Gregory North 2010. Photos by Andrew Bosman and Gregory North. Updated 
August 2010