Words & Music: Pat Drummond (4.45)
For Harkan Mutloul.
Dateline... Mascot, NSW
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Harkan Mutloul from Istanbul, came to build
a better life.
Fought to learn the English language; married
an Italian wife.
Raised three fine Australian children, bought
a home in Sydney's West.
A young man's strength against the future put
the promise to the test.
Chorus: Courage shows in little things. Take
the cab keys off the ring.
Slide inside that driver's seat and put the
car in gear.
Rolling back the fear and anger, driving back
with the turning of a key, in Harkan's Taxi.
He picked the couple up in Bondi, twenty dollars
in the float.
As he opened up the cash bag, he felt the arm
go round his throat.
He raised his hand to shield his face, the
blade sliced wetly through his palm.
"One more move like that, we'll kill you!"
The woman's voice was icy calm.
The hand that held the blade was shaking. Angry
that there wasn't more,
they rifled all the hiding places, tore the
mats up from the floor.
White hot tears of helpless anger trickled
down the sparkling knife.
Thinking of his wife and family, Harkan bargained
for his life.
Another cab came round the corner. Harkan,
shaken and in shock,
saw a hand shoot out before him; tear the cab
keys from the lock.
With one brutal word of warning, something
smashed into the clock.
Then they were gone into the morning, footsteps
ringing down the block.
Harkan out of hospital, bandaged and in pain,
parked the car behind the house and swore he'd
never drive again.
But the father of a family must bear responsibility;
the school fees and the overdraft, the mortgage
on his home.
While, crouched outside the kitchen door, the
taxi waited on the lawn;
as patient as a spider, with the moonlight
on the chrome.
Most of us have little courage. Compensating
for that fact,
we often hope to find redemption in one grand
Focused in one fleeting moment; to prove trustworthy
we overlook the humbler, but the greater, courage...
Many of us view courage as the province of heroes;
some kind of latent quality that only ever manifests itself in
extraordinary circumstances. For many of us, however, it is a
distance event. This is a song is about fortitude, another of
those old fashioned virtues that Australians elevated to an almost
mythical status in the person of 'the Battler'; that idealised
character who faced hardship, disappointment and failure with
stoic persistence and who, if bowed, was never beaten. Ironically,
battlers never saw themselves as courageous; and this story does
much to echo the sentiment of an Australian academic who said
recently that " in an age without heroes it is perhaps time
we redefined what a hero really is."
While, down in Harkan's darkened taxi where
the inner man survives,
the sword of Democles aloft; the spectre of
the shining knives;
the meter throws a greenish glow
and tallies up our lives, and knows
that Harkan is a hero...every single time he
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