I used to know a bushman
Near a bar up north,
It seemed he could hardly
I used to take him booze and food
Twice a month,
He had an aware, conscious
Relaxed and limber way.
He was missing a tooth or two
And he didn’t smell good
Always in the same coveralls
Before and after chopping wood.
I didn’t let his lack of hygiene worry me,
There are some things more important
He could hardly speak a sentence
His grammar was bad
I thought he’d live in the bush
But with a twinkle in his eye
And a laughing way
He seemed to read what I was thinking
With each expression in my face.
He laughed, not at me but with me,
So much he couldn’t say
To inform me.
I got a job down south,
Didn’t see him for years,
I was teaching at the university.
I heard laughter next door
In the philosophy class
This man was teaching right next to me.
He wore a three piece suit,
With well cut hair;
He was speaking most articulately.
The same bushman I knew
From the woods east of here
It seemed an impossibility:
How he got here from there,
Cleaned up his affairs,
It certainly seemed a mystery.
Now I live in the bush,
It’s where I want to be,
Only wash my clothes when it rains;
Old clothes and an axe and unkempt hair
I grunt and howl and seem to hardly speak,
Only the rare word
Is civilized in me.
And I laugh like I know all the world!