I used to know a bushman

Near a bar up north,

It seemed he could hardly

Speak English.


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

Than cleanliness;


He could hardly speak a  sentence

His grammar was bad

I thought he’d  live in the bush

For eternity.


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!






(C) 2016 by W.G. Milne


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