Harkan's Taxi

Words & Music: Pat Drummond (4.45)

For Harkan Mutloul.

Dateline... Mascot, NSW

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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."

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 the memories;

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 heroic act.

Focused in one fleeting moment; to prove trustworthy and sure,

we overlook the humbler, but the greater, courage... to endure.


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 drives.

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