Well here we go again. First of Jon’s JVG Radio Method for 2008, and a curious theme to start the year. Jon picked “LAW

Click to hear today’s poem… [audio:JVG_Poem20080203.mp3]

We had a good chat about our respective breaks, snakes and BBQ’s. Today’s piece is not inspired by my life, Jon’s life or any bugger’s life. I made it up. All of it. Well… nearly all of it.

Ed Bates has returned to the accompanist chair for the year, playing slide guitar today. Great to have you back mate.

We’re Back


Daniel Edward Bass was born the day Ronald Ryan was hung
Into a family of petty crims, who thrived on Melbourne’s underbelly
No teddy bears for this lad, his first toy, a plastic gun
He was named after the bushrangers, “Mad” Dan Morgan and Ned Kelly

He was bred to loathe authority, in every shape and form
You could smell the acrid stench of hate, when he walked into the room
He even despised the postie, cause he wore a uniform
The kind of hate bereft of reason when it’s with you from the womb

He grew up rough in Brunswick, with his sister and his mother
Lived twelve months with an aunty, but that’s another tale
His father moved to Coburg, just down the road, with his brother
A small but neat apartment — a cell at Pentridge jail

His father said “the sin is getting caught, not the crime
And that vacuous tenet ‘we’re all equal under law’
Cause they never let you rest, even when you’ve done your time
If someone farts ten blocks away, they’ll be kicking down your door”

Dan was smart and cunning about the rules he chose to break
At being very bad, he was very, very, good
He didn’t need a motive, he’d break for breakings sake
Not only for the money, but just because he could

Burglary, credit fraud, any kind of scam
He liked to work alone; he wasn’t one for trusting mates
He’d park in taxi ranks or bus zones, he didn’t give a damn
Besides, the cars weren’t his — or the borrowed number plates

The cops had him on their radar, and had for twenty years
Visits from the law became more or less routine
They’d try to turn the heat up, but the coppers held no fears
In fact Danny liked to toy with them, knowing he was squeaky clean

He hatched a plan to raid the Tarra Bulga National Park
Cut down scores of tree ferns and load them on a truck
Then drive them to a nursery, all done in the dark
They’d pay him well, no questions asked, the deal already struck

Danny, as I’ve mentioned, always worked alone
But this job was much too big, he’d need at least a gang of four
He should have stuck with what he knew, working on his own
With the extra hands came mouths, therein lay the flaw

The first two trips went smoothly and paid a handsome dividend
They’d found a hidden valley, no one knew outside their ring
But someone must have mouthed off, at the pub or to a friend
Word got round, the cops found out and quietly planned a sting

They put the truck under surveillance, and began a waiting game
Ten officers on standby to greet the gang’s return
On a new moon, three weeks later, the message finally came
They had to stay well hidden until the gang removed one fern

The would be thieves soon busied, lowering tools down from the tray
From the corner of his eye Danny thought he glimpsed a light
He stooped beneath the chassis as though to stow the ropes away
Saying nothing to the others, he quietly slipped into the night

The gang was quickly rounded up, they offered no resistance
But Danny, he was long gone before the cops raised the alarm
The police could only guess the direction and the distance
Then a stoke of luck, a sighting, around dawn at Cleary’s farm

They had him cornered in the stables but the battle wasn’t won
Danny wasn’t coming out and the cops weren’t going in
For all they knew, which wasn’t much, he could have had a gun
Till a donkey, spooked by all the noise, kicked out and split his chin

The sergeant and two officers, burst into the pen
“You can’t escape the law,” he cried, “You’re busted Daniel Bass”
“It took a donkey” Danny hissed, “What’s that say about your men?”
It goes to prove, as Dickens wrote, “the law, the law’s an ass”

By now the donkey was really pissed off, began to buck and rear
Badges didn’t scare him, the cops were forced to yield
Danny, once again, saw his chance to disappear
He rolled under the rail and took off across the field

He climbed high up an escarpment, then ran along the ridge
He was stopped by a ravine, but ever wily as a fox
He found a fallen branch he chanced would form a makeshift bridge
Instead he fell a hundred meters, smashed to pieces on the rocks

In a way that cop was right, in time, the law snares most crooks
But not all laws are governed by the courts, police and crown
And the law that caught poor Danny Bass, you won’t find in legal books
It’s Newton’s law of gravity, “what goes up, must come down”

© Copyright 2007 Ian Bland

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