“I was sleeping at the time so I didn’t see nothing, cept Ed Bob laying in the road…..this is the headline Godfrey read to us over breakfast, that set him muttering in Welsh over the future of mankind. It was early summer, raining for the first time in weeks, so we set out walking to enjoy it. Thunder sulked alone in the distant mountains, scent of desperate grass, rank pavement, waft of scorched pizza crust, Ahh, he sighed, the bakery is venting their ovens, rye bread, mushroom savory, spilled over, burnt raisin pie filling, smells concentrate in the damp, passing bus, wet old man, used book store, beets, daisies in a bucket outside a corner grocer, they always made him sneeze.”Beatrice’s mum saw in colors, Godfrey explained, mine in abstract like her knitting, you in words, though you do not believe it so as yet, when it rains,I see in smells.”
We paused outside an antique shop, Godfrey refusing to come in with me, I knew he feared antiques, but claimed it was “bad luck” to step over the large, retriever dog sprawled in the doorway, “I will sit here and smell, and sit he did, with a clove “Life-Saver”, on an old, plaid steamer trunk on display. My finest friend, one cumbersome, plaid clad object dreaming on another, I considered the trunk, where may have the battered old thing have been?. I made an offer, bought it, to Godfrey’s dismay, it had no handles, we trundled it home in a shopping trolley from the very grocery store we were escorted from every Tuesday. Face in the rain and spray, I rode in the cart, atop the trunk like a ships figurehead of old, he pushed through every puddle and rut, I nearly wet myself on a speed-bump- city folk stared…The trunk has made a perfect vintage luggage display in the window of our shop, as I worked on it, Godfrey, snug in my Turquoise chair..wrote about joy.
Fisherman- Elder’s wisdom passed down- a right of passage for a youth born in a landscape few will ever contemplate or know. To run the rapids, muscle and eye, run safe with boat and motor. I sat high on the cliff top, as he cast his line into the waterfall below. Fish after fish he lands, and lets each one go- nudges on their way so gently. If you did not know the fisherman was there- you may not see him. part of the land- the foam, the shadows, water and stone, he and the colors one-he is not fishing for need or want- but joy- fishing up the Grassy River in the midnight sun.
Little Bay Racehorse- Barely grown into those legs- tiny star and neat black socks. Curious and friendly, leaning eager from his loose box. Lead pony thumped him, lays ears flat. Too full of himself to dignify a response back, nip the groom, disobey the exercise boy. Too skinny and young for the long, cruel track, handsome bay colt still gallops for the joy. .
Folk Song- This summer evening…listen, you may hear the vagabond, as he hikes the dusty back-road, he is whistling a folk song. he seeks a stream bed he can ramble along. Twas a woman who he heard sing it, in youth long ago, with three chaps she stood, guitar and banjo. Her voice was clear and mighty, soared high as a Bellbird, radiated joy with every note and word.She was brassy, gentle, brave and wise, lived a full life, and though she is now gone- the music still lives in Godfrey- up the dusty track, hear him whistling a folk song.
With thanks to Russell Beardy, Lone-Wolf, and the Great Ronnie Gilbert.