Blinded by the light . . . another trucker in the night

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AS REGULAR readers will know, I am an avid collector of modern folk verse, especially the ballads that are to be heard up and down the motorways of England. I am proud to bring you today a long example of the genre that is quite new to me.

Oh, I've been going up the motorway

For nigh on thirty year

I've listened to the radio

Till it's coming out my ear

I've been up every exit

And gone down every lane

I've been around the M25

(I'm not doing that again).

I've talked to many a driver

And listened to many a tale

Of what happens on the motorway

When the warning beacons fail,

And many a ghost yarn have I heard

And many a mystery

But there's one thing on the motorway

That remains a puzzle to me:-

Why on earth do lorries

Always flash their lights?

What does it mean

When they turn on their beam

As they get you in their sights?

Do they have a secret language

That we can never share?

One flash for 'Hi]'

Two for 'Goodbye'

And three for 'Your tyres need air'?

Are they saying 'Hello, stranger'?

Or 'Blimey, your car needs a wash'?

Or have they just said:

'Don't turn off ahead

They serve really terrible nosh'?

I wish I knew why lorries

Flash us from behind.

Why, when we pass,

Do they dazzle our glass

And nearly turn us blind?

What are they trying to tell us?

Are they trying to remonstrate

For some awful mistake?

Or keep us awake?

Or is it a message of hate?

Is that what they're trying to tell us?

A message of hate to all cars?

Is it something I said?

Should I give way instead?

Is it something to do with class?

Should I smile when I pass a lorry

And wave, and shout 'All right]'?

If I act like a friend

Will he let me wend

My way with no blast of light?

Do lorries really hate us

Because we're not all slow?

Would they really prefer us

To drive like a hearse?

I hope the answer's no . . .

Maybe lorries are lonely

And trying to communicate.

Maybe they're flashing

To get some compassion

Or asking us for a date]

Oh, tell me why do lorries

Turn on and off their light

Evening and morning,

When day is dawning,

Or odd times through the night?

And why do I feel guilty

When they flash at me?

What have I gone

And been and done

Is there something I can't see?

Cars don't flash their headlights

Cars don't play the fool,

Cars are neat

And most discreet

Cars don't lose their cool

Why must lorries show off?

Why do they need to shine

And hypnotise

Somebody's eyes?

And why do they have to

be mine?

Oh, I've been on all the motorways

In every sort of car

In Saabs and Fiats

From Stoke to St Neots

And even, once, to Armagh.

I've talked to old folk in cafes

And ancient AA men,

I've consulted the runes

And know all the tunes

And heard midnight chime on Big Ben.

Oh, I have got a clean licence

And I can hold my hooch

I know this land

Like the back of my hand

I can spell Ashby-de-la-Zouch.

But one thing's got me worried

One thing's got me perplexed

Why, oh why,

As you go by,

Does the lorry flash you next?