It was at the turning of the year, of rain and farewells. Happy times in  the Old School-house Hostel that was home. The hours that he spent in time alone, Godfrey carved himself a hobo stick.

Carved it with a hook on the end, for a vagabond to carry all he owned…” I will stay one week in Jacob’s Bay,” he told the mail boat captain  who took him out to sea, “on this day please return at noon to get me.” In the peaceful bay on a smooth stone, Godfrey sat with stick and pen-knife, It had been a long time since he had thought back over his life.

He carved a spiral fern frond, a Koru. Hopping over a sheaf of wheat he carved a Kangaroo. He carved for Clementine-“No Pasaran Beets”. A tear fell for her, one of laughter, fell with the shavings at his feet. He carved a scrabble tile for Larry. He carved his ancestral pathway, he carved more than one peace dove. He carved a toilet and a lone wolf, he carved the horses that he had known and loved.

.In several languages Godfrey carved the word “free”, and he carved an air borne Mangol- Wurzel for me

.When time for parting came, he gave his hobo stick to Sarah,  if she wished to throw it in the sea, throw it into the sunrise on her long journey. .. And I oft wonder where the hobo  stick may be? Perhaps it is entombed in driftwood, or a beach-combers find, the carving on it still a mystery…somewhere in the amber dawn, like Sarah was when she bid farewell  to Godfrey.

.The cool Westland morning  brought the scent of damp Tea-Tree and bay leaf. Their campfire burned down to ember and gone. She stood in the ocean, ankle deep, surf murmured gently. She was shivering in the amber dawn. It bothered him not, she was built like a bulldog, it bothered him not, the she beat him at scrabble every game they would play. . He knew that as his destiny, love would always find him, but came with only joy, no promise it ever made to stay.

It was  warm in the city . She was bound across the ocean. They stood on the dockside, “its not raining” was the most profound thing Godfrey could say. Her golden hair carried the scent of wood smoke and Tea-Tree. The remnant of his kilt was draped over her strong shoulders, it was his tattered red plaid shirt she had on. He would all his life love the scent, of bay leaf, long for the scent of wood smoke, in the amber dawn…



  1. Thanks Mercy- one of the unbidden ones, written with the scent of camp on my mind and a vision of The Hobo Stick, out in the world, passed hand to hand , nobody knowing it’s true story.

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