Works in the Herald 1935

Among the qualifications required by the Railways Department for its new station-director (The Man in Grey) are the suavity of a diplomat, a radio announcer's voice, an ability to suffer fools gladly and to look well in a pearl-grey uniform, together with an encyclopaedic knowledge of tickets, time-tables, fares and the female temperament.

I think I should suit, for I've knowledge minute
   Of all tickets, time-tables, and trains;
All speedings and slowings and comings and goings
   Are deeply impressed on my brains.
I know just how long the express to Geelong
   Stops outside certain stations; and where
All the footwarmers go when the winter winds blow.
   So I think I am qualified there.

I can find you a porter, or see that your daughter
   Leaves safely for Sydney.  My list
Of refreshment-room fare is exclusive and rare
   I can tell you what trains you have missed.
I can find little Willie, or mind little Millie
   While Mother, with no time to spare,
Goes to buy her a bun.  I can tell you what won
   All the races.  I'm competent there.

I have knowledge unique of what days in the week
   Trains stop at your station -- or not.
I can tell ("Sat. excepted") what trains are connected
   With which.  I am au fait with the lot.
On "Mon. only" or "Tues." I have accurate views.
   I can tell you on "Suns." when and where
You can gather mushrooms or the gold wattle blooms;
   So I feel I am competent there.

And, with all this assortment of facts, my deportment,
   Impressive, yet friendly, is right.
At my resonant voice all the ladies rejoice;
   And fools flock to me, dribbling delight.
My garments I wear with an air debonair;
   But one handicap stands in my way:
Tho' in all else I'm "It," those who know me admit
   That I look simply awful in grey.

Herald, 19 October 1935, p4

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2005-07