A spoof on G&S’s Modern Major General was the first poem I wrote that met with any success. It was about a reluctant participant in Pirate Day 2014…I rewrote it to make it less stuck in that time and now I have returned to it once again to commemorate my days as a bus driver in Cornwall.
The Oily Cart Opera Company presents…
THE MODERN CORNISH* BUS DRIVERS SONG
from Lightfoot & Sullivan’s
THE BUS DRIVERS OF PENZANCE
I am the very model of a modern Cornish bus driver;
Who drives our narrow lanes at the behest of ev’ry sightseer
And twitchers, cliffpath walkers and those searching for an ancestor,
For whom its very often free and funded by the taxpayer.
I’m very well acquainted with our towns and all their eateries;
With many cheerful facts about their shops and local galleries.
I’m happy to advise you on how best to plan itineraries
And help you with your shopping when you’re coming back from Sainsbury’s.
I’m very good and patient with those visitors from far away
Who need ein wenig hilfe with the language on their holiday;
A fun part of the job and I enjoy the social interplay
Of my communicating with those qui ne parlent pas anglais.
I know we’re ‘in the sticks’ but I’m a modern bus professional.
Our journeys are much shorter than those made by Express National.
But I’ve to deal with numbers that are sometimes quite phenomenal
Because nowadays in Cornwall, our work is far from seasonal.
As doyen of the highway, let me be the one to ascertain
That I am blest with expertise in handling of the worst terrain.
A measured calm is needed to negotiate each narrow lane;
In short, I am perceived to be the master of my own domain.
When faced with granite walls I’m well aware of our fragility
And confident to handl’it to the best of my ability.
The tourists form a queue to shake my hand with regularity
And drivers from ‘upcountry’ are amazed by my temerity.
In getting you the best of fares, I’m more than economical.
On following the Highway Code, I’m almost evangelical.
I care for ev’rybody irrespective of their vehicle;
I’ll even smile and wave my hand to people on a bicycle.
When faced with handling crises, I am armed with all that’s requisite.
My language may be choice but rest assured its always apposite.
My comfort breaks are few and can be sorted with a quick visit
And think on if the bus breaks down, it’s not my fault at all, is it?
In matters engineering, I confess to knowing bugger all.
In local knowledge, I excel and score quite high in general
With information animal, vegetable and mineral.
I hope I kept you smiling by performing all this doggerel.
So, whether you’re a local or a less than frequent rider.
Feel free to place a medal on this great transport provider.
There is nothing I can’t cope with (well except a Scottish fiver).
I am the very model of a modern Cornish bus driver.
*for the purpose of this poem and to appease the bus drivers who were actually born in Cornwall, ‘Cornish bus driver’ mean someone who is driving a bus in Cornwall.
© gray lightfoot